Dots, bots, and clinical cots will play bit parts in the week of news that is waiting to happen.

The new week kicks off with CNET Networks (NASDAQ:CNET). Enjoy the report. The way that high-traffic dot-com havens are being bought out these days, it may just be CNET's last report as a standalone entity. It's been rumored for months now that the popular and profitable company behind sites such as Webshots,, GameSpot, and is on the bidding block. Whether it plans to pick a suitor or continue to grow its online reach as an independent company remains to be seen. The speculation certainly hasn't slowed the stock down at all -- it has beaten the market since being singled out as a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation earlier this summer.

Another market-thumping Rule Breakers selection is Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG). The fast-growing maker of robotic surgical arms has been impressing the market with its fat margins and heady growth. Yes, robots making life-or-death incisions in metropolitan hospital operating rooms seems like the far-off fancy of a sci-fi future, but it's really happening today. In July, the company posted blowout second-quarter results, with earnings tripling on a 70% spike in revenue. More establishments are ordering Intuitive Surgical's amazing operating systems and using them more often. That last part is important -- it has helped margins improve and lays the perfect foundation for another strong showing when the company reports on its third-quarter financials on Tuesday.

It will be Mutual Fund Wednesday as Janus (NYSE:JNS) and T. Rowe Price (NASDAQ:TROW) step up to the earnings podium. Both companies specialize in no-load mutual funds, but they couldn't be further apart in terms of consumer perception. T. Rowe Price has been a steady white-hat performer, while Janus is in the process of battling back as one of the few disgraced fund families that were tagged with trading improprieties. Then again, Janus has cleaned house, lowered its fees, and produced some heady returns in some of its mutual funds. Will that be enough to win some new assets? We'll know more in a few days.

Being knee-deep in earnings season means that a bellwether is never too far away. We'll hear that ding on Thursday, when Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) reports. Despite the golden pedigree as a tech-stock titan, Mr. Softy has watched its shares trade in a rather uninspired fashion over the past few years. With the company fending off legal settlements and coping with delays in its next-generation operating system software, will Microsoft find the time to get back on the growth track?

There are two good reasons to pay attention to Microsoft in the near term. You have the Microsoft Xbox 360 coming out next month, and the company has made the bold move into paid search advertising to make the most of its active online properties. Even if only one of those two moves pans out, it could be just the ticket to get the stock out of its trading rut.

If you're ailing before the weekend, odds are there may be something in the Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY) medicine cabinet to make you feel better. Then again, maybe there is no pharmaceutical cure for heartbreak. Many of the great drug companies like Bristol-Myers and Merck (NYSE:MRK), which gave investors consistent all-weather growth through the 1990s, have been Wall Street disappointments on this side of the millennium. Flawed drugs, thin pipelines, and market apathy have hit many of the industry's key players. Yes, Britol-Myers' fat 5% dividend has probably kept some shareholders around, but Friday's earnings report would be a great time to start winning back Wall Street's waning faith, too.

Want to learn more about the companies waiting to report earnings this week? Check out:

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz

Merck is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. The T. Rowe Price Growth Stock, Health Sciences, New Horizons, and Real Estate funds have all been recommended by the Motley Fool Champion Funds newsletter.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz recommends windshield wiper fluid when trying to look forward. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy . He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.