Verizon iPhone: Weekly Tech Recap

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- After months of rumor and speculation, the Verizon ( VZ) iPhone finally became reality this week, with the telco announcing its arrival at a glitzy New York City event Tuesday.

Verizon rival AT&T ( T), which had the exclusive U.S. deal to sell Apple's ( AAPL) iPhone, shrugged off Verizon's announcement, moving quickly to downplay its impact.
Lowell McAdam, left, Verizon President and COO, and Tim Cook, COO of Apple, announce that Verizon Wireless will carry Apple's iPhone.

The Verizon deal, of course, is expected to bolster tech giant Apple's position in the smartphone market, according to analyst firm Needham & Company. Qualcomm ( QCOM), which provides a wireless chip for the Verizon iPhone, is also expected to be a beneficiary of the deal.

Verizon shares closed down 0.95%, at $35.46 on Friday, while Apple went up 0.81% to $348.48. Qualcomm ended the week up 0.33% at $52.04, while AT&T was up 1.25% at $28.43.

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AMD ( AMD) hit the headlines late on Monday with the unexpected resignation of CEO Dirk Meyer. The company, which is playing catch-up to chipmaker Intel ( INTC), said Meyer had resigned by "mutual agreement" with the board. Current AMD CFO Thomas Seifert was named interim CEO while the firm searches for Meyer's successor.

Shares of AMD closed down 0.73% at $8.20 on Friday.

The dust had barely settled on the Verizon iPhone announcement when, just two days later, Apple released a new version of its operating system to developers. The platform, iOS 4.3, has several new features including the ability to turn the iPhone into a mobile hotspot, new camera effects and multitouch gestures for the iPad.

Chip giant Intel kicked off the tech earnings season by posting its fourth-quarter results Thursday, and it comfortably beat Wall Street's estimates and offered robust first-quarter guidance.

The tech bellwether reported revenue of $11.5 billion, up from $10.6 billion in the same period last year and better than the $11.37 billion consensus forecast from analysts.

Intel CEO Paul Otellini said that the No. 1 semiconductor maker is continuing its recent momentum. "Our fourth-quarter results represent the third consecutive quarter of record results for the company," he said during a conference call after the market closed Thursday. The PC market grew approximately 17% worldwide in 2010, he added.

Despite its strong results, Intel closed down 0.99%, at $21.08, on Friday.

IBM's ( IBM) Watson computer, comprising 15 terabytes of RAM, 2,880 processor cores and 10 racks of IBM Power 750 servers running Linux, won a practice round of Jeopardy! Thursday, a precursor game to two episodes that will air Feb. 14 - 16, when Watson will compete against two Jeopardy! champions.

For IBM, Watson's debut is a huge moment, showcasing a breakthrough computing system that can provide specific answers to complex questions -- illustrated well by Jeopardy-style phrasing -- that require the understanding of puns, plays on words and phrases that come with many different contexts.

IBM said that businesses will soon be able to use Watson's technology to make better, more efficient use of data, potentially transforming how computers help people accomplish certain tasks in call centers, financial services and health care.

Shares of IBM closed up 0.79% at $150 on Friday.

Tech's Week Ahead

Tech giants Apple and IBM report quarterly results Tuesday after the bell; TheStreet will be live-blogging both earnings conference calls.

Google ( GOOG) follows with its earnings post after the market closes Thursday.

Storage giant EMC ( EMC) will also be busy next week, making a major product launch on Tuesday, which is rumored to be a midrange device combining SAN and NAS technology.

EMC ended the week up 2.34% at $24.54 on Friday.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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