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Monday, April 07, 2008, 02:45 pm PT (05:45 pm ET)

Analyst triggers stock surge; flash sales may tumble 66 percent

An investor note by Thomas Weisel Partners has triggered a rush on Apple stock after suggesting that the iPhone and Mac would drive Apple sales for years. Also, iSuppli sees a lack of flash orders from Apple; Microsoft and Yahoo have traded shots over a takeover bid; and Apple may take the matter of an 8800 GT upgrade card into its own hands.

Analyst touts iPhone, Mac as key drivers

Thomas Weisel Partners analyst Doug Reid launched a rush on Apple stock Monday with a research note that pointed to strong long-term growth at Apple for at least the next two years.

The expert claims that Apple will continue to draw in customers through both a sustained "leadership of the aesthetic" as well as a belief that Mac OS X Leopard is more likely to trump Windows Vista in media-centrict homes. A 3G iPhone and the iPhone SDK will help the Cupertino company's handset business, Reid adds.

He estimates a 38 percent year-over-year growth of Mac sales revenue in 2008 to $14.2 billion as well much larger iPhone sales for the handset's first full year on the market, jumping from $123 million in 2007 to just over $2 billion this year. Computer sales would be well above the 3 percent for the PC business as a whole.

The positive comments were enough to help drive Apple shares to nearly $160 in Monday trading, settling at $155.89 (up $2.81) by the end of the day.

iSuppli warns of $400 million Apple flash shortfall

Apple could be one of the largest single contributors to a major shortfall in NAND flash memory orders this year, according to an iSuppli report.

Where the analyst firm had forecast a spike in orders for the storage chips of 27 percent year over year to $17.9 billion, it changed its estimate on Monday to just 9 percent, or $15.2 billion.

The drop is attributed to a tumble in worldwide consumer spending triggered by the US subprime mortgage crisis. However, with Apple's iPhones and iPods making it the third largest client for flash memory, a newly expected drop in the electronics giant's orders for flash is estimated to cost suppliers as much as $400 million by itself.

Apple hasn't made large orders for memory so far this year and is contributing to price cuts by memory producers who continue to face an oversupply problem, iSuppli says. The MacBook Air's solid-state drives are reportedly shipped in too few quantities to have an effect.

Microsoft, Yahoo argue over takeover ultimatum

Microsoft drew a line in the sand on Saturday when it established a three-week deadline for Yahoo to accept its takeover bid.

The Windows designer's chief executive, Steve Ballmer, has sent Yahoo a letter threatening to launch a proxy battle that would vote in a board of directors favorable to the takeover, which Microsoft has alleged is essential to fighting Google's control of web ads and searches.

It also claims that Yahoo should appreciate the existing $31 per share offer due to a worsening US economy and that the search engine firm has hurt its value with strategic decisions over the months since the takeover was proposed in January.

Yahoo, however, has rejected the allegations through its own letter and insists that it will only consider an increased Microsoft offer. The Microsoft bid devalues Yahoo and neglects a drop in the fortunes of the former's own stock.

Microsoft also hasn't addressed antitrust concerns that are likely to creep up, Yahoo says.

Apple to manufacture own Mac Pro GeForce upgrades?

A message on Mac Rumors' forums is raising eyebrows through its claims of a solution to ongoing troubles with upgrades for first-generation Mac Pro workstations.

In a reported e-mail, Apple chief Steve Jobs has reportedly assured one owner of the Xeon-based tower that a backwards-compatible version of the GeForce 8800 GT would be available "in about a month."

Although NVIDIA itself had promised a new version of the card that would support the original firmware, the update has not yet materialized at Apple's store, prompting criticism from owners expecting a clear upgrade path from the cards offered with the Mac Pro's 2006 introduction.

Jobs is known to periodically reply personally to customers with certain questions, though the authenticity of the e-mail is unknown.