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) -- The technology sector experienced its busiest week perhaps in decades, as


(AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. Report



(MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation Report

had major product releases, while several tech companies released earnings.

Apple was the talk of the sector, as it is almost every week, unveiling its

long-awaited iPad mini

and a host of other products on Tuesday. "Others have tried to make tablets smaller than the iPad, and they have failed miserably," said Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing.

Apple iPad Mini Event: Blog Recap

I had the chance to

play with the iPad mini

during the event, and the device is certainly worth its $329 price tag.

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The iPad mini has a screen size of 7.9 inches, significantly larger than the smaller tablet offerings from competitors. It's 49% larger than a standard 7-inch tablet, when viewed in a portrait setting, and 67% larger in landscape mode, Schiller said during the presentation. Pricing for the device starts at $329, and preorders started Friday at midnight, with the white version quickly selling out.

Apple iPad Mini: First Impressions

In addition to the iPad mini, Apple unveiled a fourth-generation iPad and new versions of its iMac, 13-inch MacBook Pro and Mac mini.

See here

for ship dates and pricing of the new products.

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In addition to the iPad mini event, Apple announced

fourth-quarter earnings

on Thursday, which were mixed compared to Wall Street expectations.

For the three months ended Sept. 30, Apple earned $8.67 a share on revenue of $36 billion. The average estimate of analysts polled by

Thomson Reuters

was for earnings of $8.75 a share on revenue of $35.8 billion.

Apple CEO Tim Cook demonstrated a

much feistier tone

on the conference call than in the past, defending the iPad mini price point and taking shots at competitors. The CEO said that he has not played with the Microsoft Surface tablet, but said he has heard that it's "a fairly compromised and confusing product."

Tim Cook Launches 'Surface' Attack: Apple Live Blog Recap

Apple generally provides guidance lower than Wall Street's expectation, and that was the case with its all-important first-quarter outlook. The tech giant said it expects first-quarter earnings of $11.75 a share on $52 billion in revenue. Wall Street analysts are currently looking for $15.41 a share in earnings and $55 billion in revenue.

Apple shares lost 1.0% this week to close at $604.00.

Microsoft released earnings this week, but also made its biggest product announcements in years. The software giant

unveiled Windows 8

to the world Thursday in New York City, as Microsoft brings Windows to mobile platforms.

Upgrading to Windows 8 will cost you $40, or $15 if you've recently purchased a Windows 7 computer. Windows RT, the



-based version of Windows 8, is available on tablets, including the Microsoft Surface.

Microsoft also unveiled the Microsoft Surface tablet, as it looks to compete with hardware makers such as Apple and stay relevant in a world increasingly moving toward smartphone and tablet usage.

The Surface RT officially went on sale on Friday, and Surface tablets with


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chips will go on sale early in 2013.

Shares of Microsoft fell 1.5% this week to close at $28.21.


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third-quarter earnings

that surprised to the upside on Tuesday, as the company continues to develop its plans to monetize mobile advertising.

Excluding items, the social network earned 12 cents a share on revenue of $1.26 billion. Analysts polled by

Thomson Reuters

were looking for 11 cents a share on sales of $1.2 billion.

"As proud as I am that a billion people use Facebook each month, I'm also really happy that over 600 million people now share and connect on Facebook every month using mobile devices," said CEO Mark Zuckerberg in the press release. "At the same time, we are deeply integrating monetization into our product teams in order to build a stronger, more valuable company."

Shares of Facebook surged 16% this week to close at $21.96.

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earnings estimates

on Thursday as it took a massive writedown on



The Seattle-based online retailer reported a third-quarter net loss of 60 cents a share on revenue of $13.81 billion. Analysts surveyed by

Thomson Reuters

were looking for a loss of 8 cents a share in the September-ended period on revenue of $13.92 billion.

For the fourth quarter, Amazon forecast operating results between a loss of $490 million and a profit of $310 million. Revenue is expected to be between $20.25 billion and $22.75 billion.

Shares of Amazon slipped 0.7% this week to close at $238.23.



jumped after the company handily beat

third-quarter estimates

on Monday.

For the quarter ended Sept. 30, Yahoo! earned 35 cents a share on a non-GAAP basis, on $1.09 billion in revenue, excluding traffic acquisition costs. Analysts polled by

Thomson Reuters

were looking for a profit of 25 cents a share on revenue of $1.08 billion.

Yahoo! also made its first acquisition under new CEO Marissa Mayer this week,

acquiring Stamped.

The service will be shut down, and the team will be joining Yahoo!.

Shares of Yahoo! gained 6% this week to close at $16.79.


(T) - Get AT&T Inc. Report


mixed third-quarter results

on Wednesday as revenue failed to meet consensus estimates.

Third-quarter revenue was $31.5 billion, flat compared to the prior year's quarter, but less than Wall Street estimates of $31.58 billion. AT&T earned 63 cents a share, up from 61 cents a share a year ago. Analysts surveyed by

Thomson Reuters

were looking for earnings of 60 cents.

Shares of the Dallas-based telecom provider fell 2.0% this week to close at $34.63.

Also reporting this week were

hard-disk drive maker

Western Digital

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Internet security firm


(SYMC) - Get Symantec Corporation Report



Texas Instruments

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Next week is a little lighter on the earnings front, with results from


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Sirius XM

(SIRI) - Get Sirius XM Holdings Inc. Report


Seagate Technology

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and more.

Enjoy the weekend everybody.

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-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York


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