Welcome to week 69 of my stock-picking throwdown with Mr. Market. Let's get right to the numbers:


Starting Price*

Recent Price

Total Return





Harris & Harris












Taiwan Semiconductor
















Source: Yahoo! Finance.
*Tracking began on Aug. 7, 2008.
**Adjusted for dividends and other returns of capital.

I've been a winner in three of the last four weeks. Not bad, though a broad rally in the indexes is certainly helping. The S&P 500 was up 5.3% during November, Dow Jones reports.

Can this rally continue? Some Fools are justifiably skeptical. "A whopping 81% of the stocks in the S&P 500 are in positive territory this year ... Which means it might be time to take some money off the table," writes my colleague Adam Wiederman.

That's fair. Recent developments in Dubai suggests that investors are feeling more than a fragile right now. Any string of bad news could gash portfolios only now seeing green after a brutal 2008.

And let's remember that some businesses still have a long way to go. Take General Motors. CEO Fritz Henderson suddenly resigned this week, adding more turmoil to an already-turbulent situation. It could be years before GM sees the light of the public markets again, and investors may be better off for the delay.

The week in tech
And if GM were to rush back to Wall Street via an offering or some other convertible nonsense? It wouldn't be surprising; bubble-era financing practices are back, according to the Financial Times newspaper. Some folks will just never learn, I guess.

Investors may be best served by sticking with companies that sport good balance sheets. Tech firms such as Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO), for example. The industry's top networker has used its bulging bank account to bully Tandberg into a deal.

Google, meanwhile, is enjoying not only an uptick in market share for its Android operating system but also more mobile business software. It'll need it to compete with Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone and long-standing business handsets such as Research In Motion's (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry.

Android wasn't Google's only OS winner. Techies at Dell (NASDAQ:DELL), Engadget, and elsewhere have now figured out how to boot the raw, open-source edition of its forthcoming Chrome OS -- "Chromium," it's called -- via a USB key. It's an important step for developers, who get to evaluate the code natively instead of through a virtual machine.

That's how it works in tech; overnight successes take years to develop and even longer to create value. Patience and diversification are the keys to tech investing gains.

Look at David Gardner. He produced a decade of 20% returns in the real-money Rule Breaker portfolio by betting on a broad portfolio of innovators, and holding for the long-term. Tom Gardner's "simpleton portfolio" was also a 10-year winner. I believe that, with my tech portfolio, I will achieve similar success.

Checkup time!
Now let's move on to the rest of today's update. Last week, The New York Post reported that Oracle was preparing a compromise in its battle with the European Union over its proposed acquisition of Sun Microsystems and the MySQL open-source database. The company now says the report is false, and has picked up support for its cause from Eben Moglen, a Columbia University law professor and director of the Software Freedom Law Center.

Moglen filed a brief at the request of Oracle's legal counsel, and within argues that assertions made by the EU in its objection to the deal are "demonstrably incorrect," MarketWatch reports. Not surprisingly, former MYSQL investor Florian Mueller disputes Moglen' claim, writing in an email to me that Moglen's filing "appears to be just an opinion." This fight could continue for some time.

There's your checkup. See you back here on Friday for more tech stock talk.

Get your clicks with more techie Foolishness:

Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. Akamai, Google, and Harris & Harris are Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendations. Dell is an Inside Value pick. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the market-beating Rule Breakers stock picking team. He had stock and options positions in Apple and stock positions in Akamai, Google, Harris & Harris, IBM, Oracle, and Taiwan Semiconductor at the time of publication. Check out his portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool owns shares of Oracle and is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. Its disclosure policy is tech-tastic.