Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has apparently usurped a tech competitor on a prominent "favorites" list, while at the same time the company is preparing for a public-record trial that is is actually fighting to be put behind closed doors.
First, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) got a seal of approval from Oprah Winfrey recently, who listed the newly released Surface tablet computer as one of her "Favorite Things" for 2012, which has been an annual holiday-shopping season tradition. The last list, in 2010, boasted the newest Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad.
"The Surface, Microsoft's first tablet, feels like a Mercedes-Benz to me, people!" Winfrey posted on her website . "The full-size keyboard built right into the cover makes work easy, the very smart kickstand makes watching a movie or Skyping a friend a delight, the less than a pound-and-a-half weight makes a great alternative to a laptop, and the many other features make it fun for work and play. Now, that's a wowser!"
But really, she didn't come across as enthusiastic. Honestly.
While the public knows about that, the upcoming Motorola Mobility v. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) may have fewer details made public, at least if Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) gets its way with U.S. District Judge James Robart. The two companies are due to begin their intellectual-property trial in less than two weeks, and there are motions flying around to try to keep as much information sealed as possible - mainly because of a lo of business information and licensing rates will be part of the testimony, and Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) believes that public dissemination of that information would compromise the leverage that Motorola Mobility currently owns in its dealings and that public knowledge would put the company at a disadvantage. The judge so far has allowed some pre-trial briefs from being released, though he has said he would be less forgiving once the trial commences.
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is expecting to pay royalties to Motorola Mobility for some patents being used for wireless and video.
So the question for Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and investors like billionaire fund manager Seth Klarman of Baupost Group might be - which of these news will be the better influence on Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), the Oprah Winfrey endorsement of the Surface tablet, or a secret intellectual property trial?