Apple's Grand Central Opening: Tech Weekly

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Apple ( AAPL) threw open the doors of its eagerly anticipated store in Grand Central station on Friday, a vast 23,000-square-foot goliath nestled in the balconies of the world-famous transport hub.

Overlooking Grand Central's main concourse, the store is located in the station's East and North East balconies, accessible via one of the building's majestic staircases.

Compared to the huge glass cube that adorns the entrance to Apple's fifth avenue store in Manhattan, the company opted for a more subdued aesthetic at Grand Central, carefully blending its store into one of the city's most iconic locations.

Staffed by 315 Apple employees, the store has also been designed to meet the needs of time-constrained customers who may be rushing to catch trains. The Grand Central location, for example, is Apple's first to offer 15-minute "Express Workshops" on the tech giant's gadgets. There's also a special retail station that allows shoppers to pick up products that they purchased in advance.

Shares of Apple closed up $2.96, or 0.76%, at $393.62.

HP ( HPQ) ended months of speculation about the future of webOS on Friday, announcing plans to open source the acclaimed mobile OS.

"WebOS is the only platform designed from the ground up to be mobile, cloud-connected and scalable," explained HP CEO Meg Whitman, in a statement. "By contributing this innovation, HP unleashes the creativity of the open source community to advance a new generation of applications and devices."

The move, however, will disappoint those calling on HP to monetize the technology by licensing it out. Nonetheless, open sourcing Web OS should help drive future innovation by opening the software up to a broader ecosystem.

The PC giant will make the underlying code of webOS available under an open source license, it said, enabling developers, partners and other hardware manufacturers to enhance the technology and launch new versions.

HP's stock ended the week up 24 cents, or 0.87%, at $27.90.

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Texas Instruments ( TXN) cut its fourth-quarter outlook on Thursday, citing weak demand across a wide range of markets, customers and products. The sole exception to this trend, according to the chip maker, was wireless applications processors.

Another chip specialist, Altera ( ALTR), also lowered its fiscal fourth-quarter revenue outlook on Thursday. The San Jose, Calif.-based firm blamed widespread weakness from both small and large customers and across all geographies except North America.

Texas Instruments shares ended the week up 2 cents, or 0.07%, at $29.94. Altera's stock was up 41 cents, or 1.16%, at $35.89.

In M&A news, security specialist Blue Coat Systems ( BCSI) announced on Friday that it's selling itself to an investor group led by private-equity firm Thoma Bravo for about $1.3 billion in cash.

Analysts, however, think that the deal is unlikely to prompt a wave of mergers and acquisitions in the space.

Blue Coat shares closed the week up $7.63, or 43.65%, at $25.11.

Networking giant Cisco ( CSCO) was also busy this week, ramping up its cloud strategy. On Tuesday Cisco unveiled CloudVerse, a set of solutions to help enterprises, service providers and governments build their own cloud services.

Built around technologies such as Cisco's UCS server and its Nexus router, CloudVerse also encompasses specialized collaboration services and partner products such as Oracle ( ORCL) databases and Microsoft ( MSFT) Exchange.

"By using a CloudVerse solution, businesses can probably drop their IT Total Cost of Ownership by 50%," said Simon Aspinall, Cisco's senior director of cloud marketing.

Cisco shares closed up 31 cents, or 1.67%, at $18.88 on Friday.

-- Written by James Rogers in New York.

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