|Apple COO Tim Cook|
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- A busy week for the tech sector kicked off with the news that Apple ( AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs is taking a medical leave of absence from the consumer technology giant. A statement released by Jobs on Monday confirmed that COO Tim Cook would again step in to handle the day-to-day running of the iPhone maker. "I will continue as CEO and be involved in major strategic decisions for the company," said Jobs.
The iconic CEO's departure raised questions for investors about Apple's future, although Wall Street seems to have faith in Cook's ability to guide the tech heavyweight. The news came a day before Apple posted stellar fiscal first-quarter results, boosted by strong sales of its Mac, iPhone and iPad products. Shares of Apple closed down $5.96, or 1.79%, at $326.72 on Friday amid a broader selloff in tech stocks. IBM & Google Results Bellwethers IBM ( IBM) and Google ( GOOG) also reported their respective fourth-quarter results. IBM was up first, confortably beating analysts' estimates on Tuesday. The company's gross profit margin also came in at 49%, up 0.8 points year-over-year, and IBM said that its business analytics revenue was up 19% year-over-year. Search giant Google posted its results after market close on Thursday, also beating consensus estimates, although the company's solid gains in search was overshadowed by news that co-founder Larry Page will replace Eric Schmidt as CEO. The executive change, which takes place on April 4, has been under discussion for a while, said Schmidt. "As Google has grown, managing the business has become more complicated," he explained in a Google blog post Thursday. "So Larry, Sergey and I have been talking for a long time about how best to simplify our management structure and speed up decision making -- and over the holidays we decided now was the right moment to make some changes to the way we are structured." Schmidt, who is one of Silicon Valley's best-known corporate leaders, will eventually assume the role of Executive Chairman, serving as an advisor to Page and co-founder Brin. Google shares closed down $14.94, or 2.38%, at $611.83 on Friday. IBM's stock was down 30 cents, or 0.19%, at $155.50 on Friday.
F5 Networks' Miss Networking company F5 Networks ( FFIV) came in just shy of Wall Street's first-quarter revenue expectations on Wednesday, and the miss hammered the company's stock. Shares of F5 crept up 82 cents, or 0.75%, to close at $109.97 on Friday. AMD Gets Fourth-Quarter Beat Chipmaker AMD ( AMD), which is playing catch-up to semiconductor rival Intel ( INTC), also beat consensus estimates in its fourth-quarter results, released after market close on Thursday. AMD's revenue, however, was flat compared with the same period last year. Shares of AMD closed up 48 cents, or 5.99%, at $7.54 on Friday. HP's Boardroom Reshuffle HP announced a sweeping boardroom reshuffle after market close on Thursday, signaling new CEO Leo Apotheker's desire to shift the company's strategy. Former eBay ( EBAY) and Alcatel-Lucent ( ALU) CEOs Meg Whitman and Patricia Russo are among five new members of the HP board, along with Shumeet Banerji, CEO of Booz & Co., Gary Reiner, former CIO of General Electric ( GE) and AXA Private Equity CEO Dominique Senequier. HP also announced that four incumbent directors are not standing for re-election at the company's annual meeting of stockholders. Shares of HP ended the week up 45 cents, or 0.96%, at $47.23. Facebook Now Worth $50 Billion Away from the earnings calendar, Facebook announced Friday it has raised $1.5 billion, valuing the social networking giant at $50 billion. The investment was broken into two parts. Goldman Sachs ( GS) clients outside the U.S. participated in a $1 billion fund that was completed on Friday, and Goldman and Russian firm Digital Sky Technologies separately invested another $500 million in December. Facebook said in a press release it has no plans to use the funds immediately, but that it will use them eventually for continued expansion. Tech's Week Ahead Tech's earnings season gathers pace next week with quarterly results from a slew of companies, including Juniper ( JNPR), EMC ( EMC), Verizon ( VZ), Symantec ( SYMC), AT&T ( T), Nokia ( NOK), Riverbed ( RVBD) and newly independent Motorola Solutions ( MSI). Tech watchers will likely keep their eyes peeled Thursday for Microsoft ( MSFT), which posts its second-quarter results after market close. --Written by James Rogers in New York. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/jamesjrogers. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.