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5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

For the week ending Sept. 7, CRN looks at IT companies that were unfortunate, unsuccessful or just didn't make good decisions.

The Week Ending Sept. 7

Topping this week's roundup of those having a rough week is Microsoft, which found itself scrambling to deal with a pair of cloud system problems.

Also making the list this week are BlackBerry for being the target of a lawsuit from Facebook; Cisco for having to respond to the discovery of critical vulnerabilities in several key products; Oracle for news that an overbudget project in New Zealand is on hold; and British Airways for being the latest victim of a security breach.

Not everyone in the IT industry was having a rough go of it this week. For a rundown of companies that made smart decisions, executed savvy strategic moves – or just had good luck – check out this week's 5 Companies That Came To Win roundup.

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Microsoft Wrestles With Cloud Service Outage, Outlook ‘Throttling’ Issue

Microsoft found itself scrambling on two fronts this week to address service problems with its cloud software.

Many Microsoft users around the world were unable to access their Office 365 Outlook or Skype for Business messages for part of Wednesday. Users reported that when they tried to log into Microsoft they got an error message that said "throttled."

Microsoft blamed the problem on a botched update to Azure's back-end authentication systems, according to a story on The Register's web site.

Microsoft, meanwhile, also spent Tuesday and Wednesday dealing with a server and network system shutdown at its data center in San Antonio following a lightning strike. The shutdown interrupted Azure and Office 365 services for customers in Microsoft's South Central U.S. cloud region, according to a GeekWire story.

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BlackBerry Sued By Facebook For Alleged Patent Infringement

BlackBerry found itself on the wrong end of a lawsuit this week when social media giant Facebook sued the communications software developer in a U.S. court, charging patent infringement.

Facebook alleges that BlackBerry's BBM Enterprise instant messaging application infringes on voice instant messaging patents held by Facebook, according to reports on the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and Globe and Mail websites.

BlackBerry, the once-high-flying mobile device maker, relies on sales of its communications software products, such as BBM Enterprise, as it looks to turn itself around.

The lawsuit, filed this week in the U.S. District Court for Northern California in San Francisco, alleges that BlackBerry has infringed on at least six patents held by Facebook. But the lawsuit does not specify how much in damages Facebook is seeking.

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Cisco Scrambles To Fix High-Severity Flaws In Its Cloud Security Service, Router Software

Cisco hustled this week to fix several critical bugs, including one in Cisco Umbrella, the networking giant's cloud-based security service.

The vulnerability in the Cisco Umbrella security platform, disclosed Wednesday, could allow an authenticated remote attacker to view and modify data across an organization, according to a Cisco advisory.

Cisco also issued an advisory on Wednesday about a critical vulnerability in the web-based management interface for the RV110W Wireless-N VPN Firewall, Cisco RV130W Wireless-N Multifunction VPN Router and Cisco RV215W Wireless-N VPN Router. The advisory said an unauthenticated remote user could exploit the bug to "cause a denial of service condition" or execute arbitrary code.

And on Thursday Cisco issued yet another warning about a critical vulnerability in Apache Struts, the open-source web application framework, that could allow a hacker to "execute arbitrary code on a targeted system." That vulnerability affected a number of products including Cisco Unified Communications Manager and Cisco Unified Intelligence Center.

Cisco has issued fixes for each of the vulnerabilities.

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Overbudget Oracle Project In New Zealand Put On Hold

Delayed, overbudget projects involving a software company's product are never good publicity. That was the case for Oracle this week when New Zealand's health minister halted payments for an Oracle system being implemented by the country's health-care network that is overbudget and not providing the expected benefits.

The National Oracle System, which has already cost NZ$100 million (U.S. $65.5 million), was the subject of a critical report from New Zealand's Auditor-General and this week Health Minister David Clark suspended the project for a review, according to a New Zealand Herald story.

The National Oracle System is supposed to provide the country's 20 District Health Boards with a central procurement, finance and supply chain system for purchasing goods and services.

But the project, going back to 2012, has gone overbudget and missed rollout deadlines and performance goals, according to the Herald story.

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Hackers Hit British Airways Systems, Steal Customer Credit Card Info

British Airways was the victim of a data breach in which hackers are believed to have stolen payment card data of 380,000 customers.

The airline disclosed Thursday that data thieves broke into its website system and stole names, addresses, emails and credit card details -- including card numbers, security codes and expiration dates -- from some 380,000 travelers who booked flights on British Airways' website and application between Aug. 21 and Sept. 5, according to a CNN story.

The airline discovered the breach Wednesday and began notifying affected customers Thursday. It has promised to pay for customer credit checks and cover any losses.

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