Five Companies That Dropped The Ball This Week3:20 PM EST Fri. Jul. 20, 2012
Microsoft had a rough week: First, the software giant admitted it failed to live up to a 2009 agreement with the European Commission that it would give consumers a choice of web browsers with Windows.
Microsoft also reported its first quarterly loss as a public company, the result of a $6.2 billion charge from its botched 2007 acquisition of online advertising firm aQuantive. The lesson here is that chasing Google can be expensive.
There aren't many companies that can report a $1.7 billion quarterly operating loss and see shares rise, but that's an accurate illustration of the bizarre situation at Nokia. The struggling Finnish mobile phone maker racked up its fifth consecutive quarterly loss, as smartphone sales plummeted nearly 40 percent during its fiscal second quarter.
Nokia sold four million Lumia smartphones during the quarter, double what it sold the previous quarter, but Wall Street analysts are still cutting their forecasts left and right, and the initial stock bump of 7 percent has all but disappeared.
Symantec this week acknowledged that some of its customers experienced the dreaded "blue screen of death" after installing a recent antivirus update.
"On 11 July 2012 Symantec Security Response started receiving reports of customers experiencing blue screens after applying the 11 July revision 18 definitions," Orla Cox, security operations manager for Symantec's Security Response team, said in a blog post.
After investigating, Symantec found that the issue stemmed from a "three way interaction between some third party software that implements a file system driver using kernel stack based file objects -- typical of encryption drivers, the SONAR signature and the Windows XP Cache manager. "
"The SONAR signature update caused new file operations that create the conflict and led to the system crash," Cox said.
AMD reported $46 million in profit during its fiscal second quarter, but that bit of positive news was outweighed by a 10 percent drop in quarterly revenue and an acknowledgment that its 32-nm Llano chips are not selling as well as expected.
"Clearly, our performance in the quarter was disappointing and did not meet our commitments," AMD CEO Rory Read (left) said in a conference call with analysts. "When I joined AMD last year, we laid out a set of priorities to improve our execution and transform the company to sustain our long-term growth potential. This has not changed."
A U.K. judge this week ordered Apple to announce, both on its Web site and in newspaper ads, that rival Samsung's Galaxy Tab tablets do not infringe on its iPad patents, according to a report in the New York Times. Last week, the same judge made the bizarre statement that consumers were unlikely to mistake Galaxy Tabs for iPads because the former are "not as cool" as the latter. This public shaming probably won't put a dent in iPad sales, but is an embarrassing development for Apple in its ongoing campaign to prove that Samsung - now the world's largest technology company by revenue is just a big copycat.