Week's Winners & Losers: Sony Takes the Lead; Discomfort for Select Comfort

Sony Playstation PS3.
Companies can make brilliant moves, but there are also times when things don't work out quite as planned. From a changing of the guard in the video game console business to retailers planning to cut our Thanksgiving get-togethers short, here's a rundown of the week's best and worst moves in the business world.

Sony (SNE) -- Winner

After 32 consecutive months as the top-selling video game console in the country, Microsoft's (MSFT) Xbox 360 was unseated in September by Sony's PS3, according to industry tracker NPD Group.

Microsoft was never expected to stay on top forever, but the timing of its fall could be better. Both companies are introducing new consoles next month, and while it's widely assumed that Microsoft's Xbox One will be more popular than Sony's PlayStation 4, watching Sony retake the lead last month does make this holiday season's new console war that much more unpredictable.

Sony rarely gets mentioned as a weekly winner these days, so let it bask in the glory of success.

Thanksgiving Dinner -- Loser

Remember when Thanksgiving was all about getting together with the family for a traditional feast as your uncles bickered about politics and you tried to sneak your vegetable onto your little cousin's plate? Well, that part of the holiday's festivities seems to be getting shorter and shorter shrift these days, with even more retailers announcing this week that they will opening for Black Friday before some of us have even finished our pumpkin pie.

Macy's (M) will open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving to kick off the holiday shopping season -- four hours earlier than its midnight opening last year. J.C. Penney (JCP) followed suit, matching Macy's. Last year, Penney's was a relative slugabed, waiting until 6 a.m. Friday morning to open its doors to the Black Friday crowds.

Apple (AAPL) -- Winner

The consumer tech giant sent out media invitations for new product unveilings that will take place Tuesday. The consensus out there is that we will see refreshed iPads and updated Macs.

%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%Sales outside of the iconic iPhone have been slipping across all of Apple's categories, so the updates should give Apple some welcome momentum. And you can't beat the timing: Microsoft's (MSFT) Surface 2 hits retailers that same day. Talk about stealing a rival's thunder! Microsoft has already been having a hard time convincing consumers to move from iPads and cheaper Android devices to its own platform, and even with the new device, changing that was destine to be an uphill slog. The competition on Tuesday will make it that much harded.

Select Comfort (SCSS) -- Loser

Shareholders of the company behind the Sleep Number mattress probably lost some sleep when its stock tumbled 22 percent in a single day this week. Select Comfort's rude awakening on Thursday came after the air-chambered mattress maker warned that it would fall short of its full-year outlook. This is the second time this year that Select Comfort has had to lower its guidance.

We're in a housing market boom. Folks are moving. This would seem to be an ideal time to upgrade from lumpy mattresses, and the improving economy should make premium bedding specialists big winners. Some of them may be doing fine, but Select Comfort is not.

Google (GOOG) -- Winner

Google impressed investors with its strong quarterly report. Sure, cost-per-click slipped 8 percent. That's the price that online companies have to pay in chasing mobile traffic, which doesn't monetize as effectively as desktop usage. However, Google made it up in volume. Paid clicks soared 26 percent, helping to push Google's revenue 12 percent higher.

Earlier in the week we saw rival Yahoo! (YHOO) post a larger than expected decline in revenue. Even tech bellwether IBM (IBM) -- typically one of the more consistent performers -- took a hit after posting disappointing results.

Google saved the early innings of this earnings season for tech investors. Now let's see who follows the search giant's lead in the coming weeks.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple, Google, and Yahoo!. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Google, International Business Machines, and Microsoft. Try any of our newsletter services free for 30 days.
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