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Today in Tech: Facebook Picks a Cosmically Auspicious Day for an IPO


The stars are aligned for Facebook to hit the markets, Apple's suppliers come closer to compliance with the supplier code, and more tech news including Rush Limbaugh.

Facebook will be hitting the Nasdaq (^IXIC) on the May 17, TechCrunch's Alexia Tsotsis confirms. CNBC previously reported that Facebook will be going public on either the 17th or 24th. The choice of the 17th is highly auspicious, according to astrological sources. Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO that unilaterally calls the shots at Facebook, is a Taurus. According to Indastro, a vedic astrology website with a prominent Google (GOOG) ranking, May 17, 2012 will be "a turnaround" for Tauruses and a "great period for learning and regenerating yourself."

"New ideas and plans that come up now would fuel the progress and plans for the next four to five years," they predict. "New ideas to generate more income as well as a need to be close to friends and make new friends and make new connections would come up."

If this isn't an auspicious blessing for a social network's IPO, I dare you to show me what is. Sources within Facebook and Morgan Stanley (MS) have not yet publicly stated whether the 17th will be the day that shares go public. Nor have they mentioned any celestial prophecies in connection with the decision. The SEC is still making it through the necessary regulatory paperwork.

Speaking of making new connections, the Goliath of networking tools on the Web might be LinkedIn (LNKD), but there's a wee David hurling little rocks at it. BranchOut (hat tip to Mashable) plugs into Facebook and allows users to see which companies their Facebook friends are in without having to find them on a separate social network. BranchOut already boasts 13 million monthly unique users and 3 million job listings. Last week, BranchOut raised an extra $25 million.

LinkedIn might be fairly established, but there are nearly 1 billion Facebook users out there, ready to obviate LinkedIn with just one click. Zuckerberg has shown that he is willing to make strategic acquisitions to destroy competition. Take heed.

While rallying its business around Microsoft's (MSFT) Windows Phone ecosystem, Nokia's (NOK) phone sales dropped last quarter. The Espoo, Finland-based company said today that it suffered a net loss of $1.3 billion euros last quarter as demand for its effectively obsolete Symbian operating system vanished. The Lumia lineup of Windows smartphones sold more than 1 million phones in the quarter, a fairly impressive start for a nascent operating system. Nokia's handset sales in the US market is merely half of what it was last year.

Apple (AAPL) will address human rights concerns that were stirred up by National Public Radio's influential (but later revealed to be fictional) feature about working conditions at Apple's Asian suppliers with monthly monitoring. The suppliers' compliance with China's labor laws based on Apple's own supplier code has steadily improved by several percentage points in each of the past few months. In March of this year, based on data from the 500,000 workers that Apple monitors, compliance with laws mandating that employees shall not work more than 60 hours a week increased to 95%. Apple will increase monitoring to 800,000 workers.

Sprint-Nextel (S) was fined $300 million by the state of New York for tax fraud. The NY attorney general's office claims that Sprint has "repeatedly and knowingly" submitted false records and deliberately failed to pay any sales taxes on flat-rate call plans for seven years.

In other news, Rush Limbaugh went on air to claim his iPhone has been hacked. His Bluetooth text transcriber allegedly misinterpreted his words as "Obama's minions are taking over." "Sadly," he said, "I can't prove it." You can read an exhaustive explanation of the event from Rush's transcript.

Finally, I draw your attention to Mike Comeau's post on Qualcomm's (QCOM) disappointing earnings outlook and the "high-quality problem" of not being able to meet demand for 28-nanometer 4G LTE products.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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