Apple's Patent Win, New High: Tech Weekly

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Even by its own headline-grabbing standards, Apple ( AAPL) has had a big week, marked by a major patent victory over rival Samsung and another record-high stock price.

Late on Friday a jury in San Jose, Calif., awarded Apple $1.05 billion in the closely-watched patent case, ruling that the Korean phone giant had "willfully" infringed a number of "valid" Apple iPhone patents.

The landmark case could have major implications on the technology landscape, bolstering Apple's confidence in the ongoing tech patent wars.

Samsung, however, looks likely to appeal the ruling.

Apple shares also hit another all-time high this week when they traded at $674.88 on Tuesday.

The iPhone maker also became the most valuable company in history in terms of market cap on Monday, when it surpassed the $620.58 billion valuation set by Microsoft ( MSFT) in 1999, although the software giant would still hold the record, if the valuation was adjusted for the effects of inflation.

Additionally, Friday marked the one-year anniversary of Tim Cook's appointment as Apple CEO.

The overwhelming majority of respondents to TheStreet's poll on the Apple chief say that Cook's doing a great job.

A bit less than 75% of the respondents gave Cook a thumbs up, with only 2% describing the former Apple COO as a "disappointment." A little more than 23% of TheStreet's readers, however, said they're undecided on the Apple chief, noting that "the jury's still out."

Cook faced the daunting prospect of replacing Apple's iconic co-founder Steve Jobs when he stepped up to the CEO's role last year. The 51-year old, however, has overseen successful launches for the iPhone 4S and the new iPad, as well a major Mac refresh. Cook is also expected to debut the eagerly anticipated iPhone 5 next month. Apple shares have also climbed more than 86% on Cook's watch.

Shares of the Cupertino, Calif.-based firm rose 2.3% this week to close at $663.22. Apple had a valuation of $621.71 billion at Friday's close.

HP ( HPQ) shares slumped after the No. 1 PC maker reported disappointing third-quarter results on Wednesday.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company brought in sales of $29.7 billion, down from $31.2 billion in the prior year's quarter, and below analysts' forecast of $30.1 billion.

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Declining PC and printing sales, in particular, weighed heavily on the company's top line. Revenue from HP's Personal Systems Group (PSG) declined 10% in the third quarter, while Imaging and Printing Group (IPG) revenue was down 3%.

Excluding items, HP earned $1.00 a share, in line with its preannouncement earlier this month, but down from $1.10 a share a year earlier. HP also lowered its guidance.

Although external factors such as macroeconomic headwinds impacted HP's results the company acknowledged that it needs to do a better job of executing against its goals. The company is still in the early stages of its turnaround, according to CEO Meg Whitman.

HP shares slumped 9.9% to end the week at $17.58.

HP's results came hot on the heels of underwhelming second-quarter results and weak guidance from Dell ( DELL) on Tuesday.

The Round Rock, Texas-based company reported revenue of $14.5 billion, down from $15.7 billion in the same period last year, and less than analysts' forecast of $14.64 billion.

Excluding items, Dell earned 50 cents a share, compared to 54 cents a share in the prior year's quarter. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters were looking for earnings of 45 cents a share.

With PC sales under pressure, Dell expects its third-quarter revenue to slip between 2% and 5% sequentially. Excluding items, the HP rival also adjusted its full-year earnings guidance to $1.70 a share, which includes a 2- to 3-cent dilutive impact from Dell's pending acquisition of Quest Software ( QSFT). Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters were looking for earnings of $1.90 a share.

Dell shares ended the week down 7.9% at $11.26.

PayPal, owned by eBay ( EBAY), announced a deal with Discover Financial Services ( DFS) on Tuesday.

The deal, which is seen as a shot at rival Square in the mobile payments war, brings PayPal access to the 7 million merchants across the country who take Discover, starting in the second quarter of 2013.

Earlier this month, Square announced a partnership with Starbucks ( SBUX) to let customers pay with Square's app at the coffee giant's 7,000 U.S. locations.

eBay shares crept up 0.5% to close at $47.10 on Friday. ( CRM) flew past Wall Street's estimates in its second-quarter results, released after market close on Thursday, although the company's shares tanked on weaker-than-expected profit guidance.

Shares of the customer relationship management (CRM) specialist, one of TheStreet's top cloud stocks, ended the week up 0.9% at $148.54.

Amazon ( AMZN) sent out invitations this week to a major press event taking place in Santa Monica, Calif. on Sept. 6, fuelling speculation that the new Kindle Fire is on deck.

Shares of Amazon ended the week up 1.89% at $245.74.

-- Written by James Rogers in New York.

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