Five Companies That Dropped The Ball This Week11:00 AM EST Fri. Apr. 13, 2012
Apple this week tried to shut down one of the domains of Dr. Web, the Moscow-based security firm that discovered the Flashback botnet last week.
Apple told a Russian domain registrar that one of Dr. Web's domains was acting as a command-and-control server for the 600,000 Macs in the botnet, but it later emerged that the server was merely part of Dr. Web's testing mechanisms, according to a report from Forbes.
This may have been a mistake on Apple's part but, nevertheless, it does highlight Apple's inexperience dealing with the security research community. Apple did end up releasing a software tool that detects and removes the Flashback malware, but its future response to such issues will no doubt be watched with hawklike intensity.
HP is trying to figure out how some of its ProCurve 5400 zl switches were shipped with flash cards infected with a virus. This is more of an embarrassment than a security threat, since a user would have to remove the flash card from one of the routers and use it in a PC, but the incident does raise questions about how the malware made its way onto the flash cards.
HP has managed to stay out of the headlines in recent weeks, something CEO Meg Whitman has indicated would be one of her priorities as she looks to untangle the company's financial situation. Incidents like these are exactly the sort of thing she would like to avoid.
Nokia's woes continued this week as the company issued a profit warning that sent shares down to their lowest level in 14 years. If that weren't enough, Nokia had to recall its much-heralded Lumia 900 Windows Phone smartphone due to a software glitch that rendered them unable to connect to the Web.
"Our devices and services business continues to be in the midst of transition," Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said in a statement.
Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn resigned this week in a parting the company initially characterized as a mutual decision. However, Best Buy is investigating whether he misused company assets during an alleged relationship with a female subordinate, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
Even without the specter of alleged misconduct, there's no denying that Best Buy is having its lunch eaten by more nimble competition. On March 26, Best Buy announced plans to close 50 stores in the U.S., lay off 400 corporate employees, and test smaller stores in certain markets in order to cut costs. The company posted a $1.7 billion loss, or $4.89 per share, for the fourth fiscal quarter ended March 3, results that included a $2.6 billion charge mostly related to a restructuring in Europe.
Verizon Wireless is the only U.S. carrier that does not levy a fee on customers when they upgrade to new phones. But on April 22, Verizon will start charging customers $30 for the privilege of inking a new two-year contract, and in the process, picking up a new subsidized phone.
Verizon's fee is still less than that of AT&T and Sprint, which charge $36 for upgrades. But Verizon's explanation for the move is the kind of unadulterated claptrap that is sure to make customers' blood boil:
"This fee will help us continue to provide customers with the level of service and support they have come to expect which includes wireless workshops, online educational tools, and consultations with experts who provide advice and guidance on devices that are more sophisticated than ever," Verizon said in a statement.