If you're the CEO of a major tech company, you've probably had a lot of things change for you this week. And even if you're not, you'll want to keep an eye on the tech sector, as major changes are happening. In news that affects nearly everyone, Google revealed why your search results might be lacking. (Find out how to protect your personal information from phishers, scammers and thieves. See Tips For Keeping Your Financial Data Safe Online.)

IN PICTURES: Retire A Millionaire In 10 Steps

It's Earnings Time Again
It's earnings season and many companies are coming in with strong growth, even beating analysts' estimates. General Electric (NYSE:GE) reported an earnings beat despite weakness in the energy sector. Continuing operations generated $1 billion in the fourth quarter. Google also reported strong earnings, while Bank of America reported a loss of $1.6 billion, which it blamed on bad mortgages, according to Business Week.

Despite the bank's disappointing news, the markets reacted well to the strong earnings from other players. On Friday morning, the Dow rose 0.6%, as did the Nasdaq composite index. The S&P 500 rose 0.8% to 1,290.

One Gets Sick and Another Steps Aside
It has been an interesting week for some very powerful CEOs, their companies and their shareholders. Apple CEO Steve Jobs has taken a medical leave of absence – not his first one in recent years - but continues to act as CEO when it comes to major decisions. The figurehead of all things Apple underwent surgery in 2004 to remove a cancerous tumor and in 2009, he had a liver transplant.

Turning to another major tech force, Google CEO Eric Schmidt announced on Thursday that he would be stepping aside as CEO, and according to the Wall Street Journal, has filed paperwork to sell 6% of his shares in the company – currently worth about $335 million. This is the first time Schmidt has sold any of his shares in three years.

Schmidt will be replaced by co-founder Larry Page, and Schmidt will assume the position of Executive Chairman. (The successes of these three CEOs can be linked back to one common factor: Customer service. Check out The CEO Dream Team - Walton, Schwab, Marcus And Blank.)

The War on Spam
Speaking of Google, you may have noticed lately that your old search standby isn't turning up the results you're used to. While the search giant remains at the top of the game, the issue of content farms continues to plague the company and its users. Content aggregators are sites which, instead of producing original content themselves, republish content from other sources in the hopes of directing traffic to their own URL.

The goal of Google, and all search engines, is to bring the most relevant content to the user based on their search terms. The better the results, the more users will want to use that search engine, which means more users looking at ads on the site, which of course, translates to dollars for that search company. However, websites want their ranking to be as high as possible on search engines for exactly the same reason – to attract visitors. Unfortunately, there are ways for websites to "trick" search engines into thinking they have the relevant content when they don't.

Google has been at the forefront of weeding out what the Wall Street Journal calls "search spam," which is one of the reasons it is as popular as it is. Of course, it isn't a perfect system, and Google continues to modify its algorithm in an effort to award rankings to the sites that are trustworthy – without leaving out smaller sites which may have relevant content, but lack the depth and optimization for Google to recognize the information.

IN PICTURES: 4 Biggest Investor Errors

The Bottom Line
This time of year is a busy one in the financial sector, so make sure you're watching as earnings beats and misses will be affecting the major indexes and the markets overall. You never know if a correction is looming. As for Google, despite the first drastic change in management since it was a small startup and the criticism for its search engine capabilities, we certainly won't stop relying on the company's products any time soon. (Find out what this winning manager did to grow one of the biggest companies in the world. To learn more, refer to Management Strategies From A Top CEO.)

Related Articles
  1. Stock Analysis

    Top 4 Companies Owned by Yahoo

    Understand Yahoo's acquisition strategies and how the company has been able to make so many acquisitions. Learn about the top companies owned by Yahoo.
  2. Stock Analysis

    YouTube Vs. Vimeo: Which One Should You Choose?

    Understand why online videos have become popular and how platforms are capitalizing on the trend. Learn about the differences between YouTube and Vimeo.
  3. Investing

    The Top Businesses Nurtured By Y Combinator

    We look at the top startups that were incubated at Y Combinator, one of the world's most popular business incubator firms.
  4. Investing News

    Hearst and Condé Nast in the Digital Age

    Condé Nast and Hearst are converting potential loss into opportunity by adapting to the digital age and transforming their products and operations.
  5. Investing

    Why Disrupting Television Will Take Time 

    The growing popularity of YouTube and Netflix has given rise to dire predictions about television's death. But here's why the medium may prove to be resilient.
  6. Investing

    Why Perceptual Computing Is The Future 

    Perceptual computing will have a major impact on our future in the coming years. Here's why.
  7. Investing

    What's Behind the Decline in Productivity Numbers? 

    There are several theories and hypotheses about low productivity numbers in the American economy. This article examines some of them.
  8. Retirement

    How Robo-Advisors Can Help You and Your Portfolio

    Robo-advisors can add a layer of affordable help and insight to most people's portfolio management efforts, especially as the market continues to mature.
  9. Professionals

    7 Apps Every Financial Analyst Should Have

    Review the seven best mobile apps for professional financial analysts for streamlining up-to-date information and performing data analysis.
  10. Investing

    Decoding the Merger of Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia

    Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia have a history of difficult mergers. But, their merger with each other may turn out to be the right fit for both companies.
  1. How has Google's operations strayed from its original mission statement?

    Google's (GOOG) mission statement has been the same since its inception in 1998: "Organize the world's information and make ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What are some examples of Apple and Google's best-selling product lines?

    There are many good examples of product lines in the technology sector from some of the largest companies in the world, such ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What are the main reasons for investing in the retail sector?

    The retail sector is diverse, dynamic and extremely susceptible to changing consumer tastes, yet the industry seems to grow ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What average annual return has the internet sector historically generated?

    It is important to add a little sophistication to any review of the historical stock returns for companies in the Internet ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How has electronic retailing (e-tailing) changed the consumer discretionary goods ...

    Electronic retailing has changed the consumer discretionary goods sector by increasing price transparency and product information. ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What level of annual growth is common for companies in the Internet sector?

    The Internet services sector consists of a diverse group of companies that exhibit strong growth potential. Investors often ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Real Estate Investment Trust - REIT

    A REIT is a type of security that invests in real estate through property or mortgages and often trades on major exchanges ...
  2. Section 1231 Property

    A tax term relating to depreciable business property that has been held for over a year. Section 1231 property includes buildings, ...
  3. Term Deposit

    A deposit held at a financial institution that has a fixed term, and guarantees return of principal.
  4. Zero-Sum Game

    A situation in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s loss, so that the net change in wealth or benefit is zero. ...
  5. Capitalization Rate

    The rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income that the property is expected to generate.
  6. Gross Profit

    A company's total revenue (equivalent to total sales) minus the cost of goods sold. Gross profit is the profit a company ...
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!