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The 3 Biggest Surprises in Tech This Week

By Anders Bylund – Apr 13, 2013 at 8:15AM

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If you get bored in Silicon Valley, you might want to check your vital signs. Here are three of the most surprising news around the tech sector this week.

Say what you want about the tech sector, but it's never boring. Any given week will keep tech investors flooded with product announcements, earnings surprises, and crazy strategy shifts that absolutely nobody saw coming.

These are three of the most shocking pieces of tech news this week.

That's just ostrichious! Image credit: Flickr Commons.

The return of solar power
Solar-power giant First Solar (FSLR -0.13%) published an updated revenue and earnings outlook for the next couple of years. The next day, shares soared 45.5% higher. At the midpoint of management's guidance ranges, First Solar beat Wall Street's 2013 revenue target by 25% and next year's estimates by 13%.

Investors were pleasantly surprised by First Solar's new targets, which include the impact of a recent acquisition. As the company incorporates TetraSun's high-efficiency solar technology in its own products, First Solar will be able to enter whole new markets and offer better solutions at a lower cost.

"This breakthrough technology will unlock the half of the PV market which favors high-efficiency solutions, which has been unserved by First Solar to date," said CEO Jim Hughes.

Are these BlackBerrys rotten?
Here's one that will shock you one way or another, no matter which side of the street you're on.

First, The Wall Street Journal reported that BlackBerry's (BB 2.36%) new Z10 phones have been an unmitigated disaster. One analyst pinged his retail connections and found that "returns are now exceeding sales" of the Z10 in many cases. Another noted that sales started out poorly and "weakened significantly as the days passed." This is the shocker if you believe in the new BlackBerry platform and hope that it will revive the company's flagging fortunes.

So here's a surprise for BlackBerry doubters. The company not only denies and refutes these claims, but it even filed complaints with the SEC and with Canadian market regulators.

"Everyone is entitled to their opinion about the merits of the many competing products in the smartphone industry, but when false statements of material fact are deliberately purveyed for the purpose of influencing the markets a red line has been crossed," said BlackBerry's chief attorney, Steve Zipperstein.

It's one thing to shake your head and wag a finger at supposedly false conclusions, but it's a whole 'nother ballgame when the lawyers come marching in. Keep an eye on this unfolding drama with our Foolish watchlist feature.

The PC is dead!
Wait, wasn't this old news already? The writing has been on the wall for months already.

Apparently not for many investors.

This week saw fresh PC sales estimates for the first quarter from analyst firms IDC and Gartner, and they both pointed to a drastic drop. IDC said unit sales fell 14% year over year, reaching rock-bottom levels not seen since 2009.

And yes, investors were flabbergasted. Shares of PC giant Hewlett-Packard (HPQ -0.74%) traded 6.6% lower after these announcements, and Microsoft (MSFT 0.13%) plunged 5%. You can bet that Dell (DELL.DL) would be in the dumps if the stock weren't insulated from news-powered swings by the ongoing process of going private.

So I guess this is a shock of sorts. If nothing else, I'm surprised that the markets took the PC sales reports as hard as they did.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any company mentioned. Check out Anders' bio and holdings or follow him on Twitter and Google+.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Stocks Mentioned

Hp Stock Quote
Hp
HPQ
$29.64 (-0.74%) $0.22
Microsoft Stock Quote
Microsoft
MSFT
$255.02 (0.13%) $0.33
Dell Technologies Inc. Stock Quote
Dell Technologies Inc.
DELL.DL
BlackBerry Stock Quote
BlackBerry
BB
$5.20 (2.36%) $0.12
First Solar Stock Quote
First Solar
FSLR
$168.32 (-0.13%) $0.22

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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