Five Companies That Dropped The Ball This Week10:00 AM EST Fri. Aug. 17, 2012
If you thought Hewlett-Packard's long-running WebOS saga couldn't get any weirder, you were wrong.
HP said it is spinning off what remains of its WebOS Global Business Unit into a separate company called Gram. No, you read that right: Gram.
Included in the spin-off are the WebOS software and cloud services team, and Enyo, the WebOS application framework for developers, according to a leaked internal memo. Gram, which carries the tagline "Potent. Light. Nimble. At the core of all things big and small," will focus entirely on software and solutions, according to the memo, which offered no other insight into the company's raison d'etre.
Microsoft halted the publishing of new apps on the Windows Phone Marketplace due to a technical glitch that rendered customers unable to experience the latest apps for Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango", the current -- and lame duck -- version of the OS.
"We've run into an issue with the digital certificates used to sign apps, and this is preventing some phones from installing some apps published during the last couple of days," Mazhar Mohammed, a Microsoft program director, said in a blog post.
The good news is that the issue isn't affecting customers who bought phones with Mango preinstalled. "There’s nothing wrong with your phone and everything else should work fine," Mohammed said in the blog post.
Did Google bite off more than it could chew in its $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility? Sure looks that way after Google confirmed plans to cut about 4,000 jobs from Motorola Mobility, or roughly 20 percent of the division's workforce.
"These changes are designed to return Motorola's mobile devices unit to profitability, after it lost money in fourteen of the last sixteen quarters," Google said in its 8-K filing with the SEC. "That said, investors should expect to see significant revenue variability for Motorola for several quarters. While lower expenses are likely to lag the immediate negative impact to revenue, Google sees these actions as a key step for Motorola to achieve sustainable profitability."
Mitel's struggles continue, as the company said it is planning to lay off 200 full-time employees and shutter some of its facilities. Mitel also trimmed $10 million from its forecast for its fiscal 2013 first quarter, which ends Aug. 30.
Mitel CEO Richard McBee (left) chalked up the problems to project delays and ongoing economic uncertainty. "Our results reflect orders booked that did not ship in the quarter, implementation delays on several customer projects and a general deterioration in the macro environment," McBee said in a statement.
Facebook insiders jumped at the chance to sell their shares in the social network, as the "lockup period" that had prevented them from doing so expired. Facebook shares fell to $19.76 at one point, almost half the company's May 18 IPO price, and 42 million shares were sold in just the first hour. While not unexpected, the Facebook sell-a-thon is the latest bit of alarming news for the company.