Amazon's Kindle Fire: Tech Weekly

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Amazon ( AMZN) was Silicon Valley's biggest newsmaker this week, ending months of rumor and speculation on Wednesday when it finally entered the tablet market.

The Internet giant's CEO, Jeff Bezos, unveiled the Kindle Fire at a press event in New York City, aiming a careful dig at Apple's ( AAPL) iPad.
Jeff Bezos, Chairman and CEO of Amazon.com, introduces the Kindle Fire.

Amazon priced its 7-inch touch screen device at $199, significantly less than the iPad, which starts at $499. The Seattle-based firm also launched Amazon Silk, a mobile browser that combines Amazon's cloud computing with the Kindle Fire.

"We're building premium products at nonpremium prices," Bezos said at the New York press conference. "We are determined to do that."

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The Amazon tablet has already sent ripples through the gadget market. On Friday, for example, Best Buy ( BBY) got aggressive in its tablet pricing. The retailer cut the price of HTC's Flyer to $299 from $499 and slashed Research In Motion's ( RIMM) PlayBook by the same amount.

Amazon shares ended the week down $6.21, or 2.79%, at $216.23, mirroring a broader retreat in tech stocks. The Nasdaq closed down 2.63% on Friday.


Apple confirmed on Tuesday that its next big product event will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 4, likely marking the debut of the new iPhone 5.

The launch at Apple's Cupertino, Calif. HQ will be the first of the post-Steve Jobs era, representing a crucial moment for the company's new CEO Tim Cook.

The new phone is expected to run on a dual-core processor with a better camera. There has also been chatter about a stripped-down iPhone 4 to sell into expanding markets such as China.

Apple also hit the headlines this week over its sprawling global patent battle with Samsung. The South Korean tech giant, however, reportedly offered an olive branch to the iPhone maker in one local dispute, taking place in Australia.

Apple's stock ended the week down $9.39, or 2.4%, at $381.18.

Chipmaker AMD ( AMD) warned on Wednesday that its third-quarter sales will be weaker than its original forecast, citing manufacturing issues that limited supplies of its Llano chip.

The No. 2 chipmaker released its preliminary third-quarter results after market close, with revenue expected to increase 4% to 6% year over year, well below its prior forecast of 8% to 12% growth.

AMD also lowered its gross margin prediction to between 44% and 45% from its previous forecast of around 47%.

Shares of AMD closed down 23 cents, or 4.33%, at $5.08 on Friday.


Troubled tech giant HP ( HPQ) was in the spotlight this week, hot on the heels of the Dow component's CEO swap. On Tuesday, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina warned that the No. 1 PC maker, now led by Meg Whitman, needs a cogent strategy.

On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that HP has hired Goldman Sachs ( GS) to advise it on better defending itself against pressure from activist investors.

Later in the week, details of recently ousted HP CEO Leo Apotheker's severance package emerged. Apotheker will receive $7.2 million in severance over the next year and a half, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as a $2.4 million bonus for his 11-month tenure at the company.

HP's shares ended the week down $1.33, or 5.59%, at $22.45.


Nokia ( NOK) announced on Thursday that it is cutting an additional 3,500 jobs by 2012 as the Finnish handset maker tries to turn itself around. The company also plans on closing a manufacturing plant in Romania by the end of this year.

Nokia's stock closed down 11 cents, or 1.91%, at $5.66 on Friday.


In addition to Apple's iPhone event, all eyes will also be on Oracle ( ORCL) next week. The database giant's OpenWorld event kicks off on Sunday with a keynote from outspoken CEO Larry Ellison.

-- Written by James Rogers in New York.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/jamesjrogers.

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