IBM CEO to Step Down: Tech Weekly Recap

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- IBM's ( IBM) popular CEO Sam Palmisano will step down at year-end, the tech bellwether announced on Tuesday. Palmisano will be replaced by the company's sales chief, Virginia Rometty, the first female CEO in IBM's 100-year history.

In a statement, IBM explained that Palmisano will remain chairman of the board, adding that the CEO transition will take place on Jan. 1.
IBM CEO Sam Palmisano will step down next year.

"Ginni Rometty has successfully led several of IBM's most important businesses over the past decade -- from the formation of IBM Global Business Services to the build-out of our Growth Markets Unit," said Palmisano, in the statement. "But she is more than a superb operational executive -- with every leadership role, she has strengthened our ability to integrate IBM's capabilities for our clients."

Palmisano, who took IBM's reins in 2002, successfully guided the tech giant through the economic downturn, and helped architect its push towards high-margin areas such as software and services.

Like Palmisano, Rometty is also an IBM veteran, having joined the company as a systems engineer in 1981.

IBM also announced plans to beef up its share buyback on Tuesday.

Big Blue's stock closed UP $1.57, or 0.84%, at $187.45 on Friday.

HP ( HPQ) will keep its PC division, the company's CEO Meg Whitman announced on Thursday, after spending the last few months considering a spinoff of its computer business.

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The possible PC spinoff, one of a host of strategic changes announced by the company's former CEO Leo Apotheker earlier this year, proved massively unpopular with investors. Ultimately, the strategy contributed to Apotheker's ouster last month.

"HP objectively evaluated the strategic, financial and operational impact of spinning off PSG. It's clear after our analysis that keeping PSG within HP is right for customers and partners, right for shareholders, and right for employees," explained HP CEO Meg Whitman, in a statement released after market close.

Whitman's move won plaudits on Wall Street, although analysts have warned that she still has lots of work to do before HP gets back on track.

HP's shares ended the week up 95 cents, or 3.52%, at $27.95.

Nokia ( NOK) unveiled its first Microsoft ( MSFT) Windows-based phones, the Lumia 800 and Lumia 710, on Wednesday.

The phones are part of Nokia's new smartphone strategy announced earlier this year ago to gain back market share from Apple's ( AAPL) iPhone and Research In Motion's ( RIMM) BlackBerry smartphones.

Nokia's stock closed down 13 cents, or 1.78%, at $7.18 on Friday.

Oracle ( ORCL) opened its wallet on Monday, agreeing to buy RightNow Technologies ( RNOW) for $43 a share, valuing the cloud technology company at $1.5 billion when counting its debt.

The deal is a boost to Oracle's Public Cloud business, bolstering its presence in call center and social networking technology.

Shares of Oracle ended the week up 3 cents , or 0.09%, at $33.69.

Tech earnings season rumbled on, with AMD ( AMD) swinging to a profit in its third-quarter results on Thursday, citing strong demand for its mobile processors.

The No. 2 chipmaker earned $97 million, or 13 cents a share, in the latest quarter, up from a year-ago equivalent loss of $118 million, or 17 cents a share.

AMD's shares were up 40 cents, or 7.22%, at $5.94 on Friday.

Symantec ( SYMC) was also on deck this week, reporting in-line profit and record revenue on Wednesday amid continued demand for its security and storage products.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based firm said revenue totaled $1.68 billion for the three months ended Sept. 30, a new company record. That performance was up from $1.48 billion in the same period last year, and ahead of the average analysts' estimate of $1.66 billion.

Symantec's stock closed up 25 cents, or 1.41%, at $17.99 on Friday.

Tech earnings to look out for next week include 4G specialist Clearwire ( CLWR) and chipmaker Qualcomm ( QCOM), which both report after market close on Wednesday. LinkedIn ( LNKD), which went public earlier this year, reports its third-quarter results after market close on Thursday.

Daily deals site Groupon, which has repeatedly scaled back the size of its IPO, is expected to make its market debut on Nov. 4.

-- Written by James Rogers in New York.

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