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Facebook Fires Up for IPO: Tech Weekly

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Even though earnings slowed down this week for the tech sector, there was plenty of news to be had, led by a trio of tech titans: Facebook, Apple (AAPL - Get Report) and Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report).

The week started off with Microsoft investing $300 million in a joint venture with Barnes & Noble (BKS), as the NOOK becomes a viable competitor in the tablet space.

The partnership sees Microsoft and Barnes & Noble teaming up to form a joint venture for the NOOK tablet, bringing together Barnes & Noble's digital and college businesses.

Microsoft will own a 17.6% stake, with Barnes & Noble owning the remaining 82.4% in the as-yet-to-be-named company.

Shares of Microsoft closed the week down 3.5% at $30.98. Barnes & Noble gained $37.8% during the week to close at $17.90.

After the close of trading on Monday Groupon (GRPN) announced the resignation of two board members.

Starbucks (SBUX) CEO Howard Schultz and venture capital firm Accel Partners' Kevin Efrusy resigned from the board. Schultz is stepping down immediately, while Efrusy's resignation from the board of directors will be effective as of the company's annual meeting in June.

Groupon said Daniel Henry, the chief financial officer of American Express (AXP), replaced Schultz, and Robert Bass, a vice chairman of accounting firm Deloitte LLP, should join its board after a shareholder vote at the annual meeting.

The Chicago firm has been wrestling with accounting issues since its IPO last year. Groupon recently restated fourth-quarter earnings, citing a shift in the company's deal mix and higher price offers, which have higher refund rates.

Shares of Groupon ended the week 16.4% lower at $9.97.

Apple once again garnered attention, amidst chatter about the new iPhone and market share gains against Amazon (AMZN).

Rumors emerged of a longer, thinner iPhone, slightly different from previous versions of the iconic smartphone. Research firm IDC also showed Apple stole tablet market share from Amazon during the fourth quarter, as more consumers bought the iPad, seemingly at the expense of the Kindle Fire.

Shares of Apple closed the week 7.0% lower at $565.25.
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