5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

For the week ending Sept. 6, CRN looks at IT companies that were unfortunate, unsuccessful or just didn't make good decisions.


The Week Ending Sept. 6

Topping this week's roundup of those having a rough week is Google, which faces the prospect of a wide-scale antitrust investigation from dozens of state attorneys general.

AMD made the "Rough Week" list for dealing with reports that its new-generation Ryzen processors aren’t performing as advertised. Also making the list are T-Mobile for getting hit with a lawsuit from New York City for allegedly using fraudulent sales tactics in its Metro by T-Mobile stores, Juniper Networks for paying a hefty fine to settle bribery charges from the SEC, and Yahoo and thousands of Yahoo email users for suffering through a widespread service outage.

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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 Five Companies That Came To Win roundup.

Dozens Of State AGs Preparing Concerted Antitrust Probe Of Google

Google, already bracing for a new probe from U.S. regulators, will likely also have to contend with dozens of individual states scrutinizing possible antitrust violations.

The attorneys general in more than half the 50 U.S. states will steer their offices toward investigating the Internet giant’s business practices in accordance with their states’ antitrust laws, likely working in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Justice.

The investigations could be announced as early as next week.

Google doubly had a rough week in that it will pay $170 million, to the Federal Trade Commission and the New York Attorney General’s Office, to settle accusations that its YouTube business repeatedly violated child online privacy laws by collecting personal information without their parents’ consent, according to a CNBC report.

AMD Wrestles With Ryzen Boost Speed Issue

AMD acknowledged reports this week that some of the chipmaker’s third-generation Ryzen processors were not achieving their advertised boost speeds. The company said the problem was the result of an issue in its firmware that “reduces boost frequency in some situations.”

The company, in a tweet, said it is preparing a BIOS update for motherboard makers that will fix the problem and include additional optimizations.

AMD’s moves to correct the problem followed a report over the weekend on the Tom’s Hardware site that said a survey found that only 5.6 percent of respondents said the Ryzen 9 3900X was reaching its rated boost speed. While other Ryzen 3000 series chips performed better, a majority also were not hitting their boost speeds, according to the survey.

The Ryzen line of CPUs is a major driver behind AMD’s resurgence in the processor market. Rival Intel wasted no time in capitalizing on the AMD issue when Intel’s chief performance strategist posted a blog Wednesday touting the performance of Intel’s upcoming Core i9-9900KS processor that’s due to ship next month.

T-Mobile Sued By New York City For Alleged ‘Abusive’ Sales Tactics

T-Mobile USA was on the receiving end of a lawsuit this week, brought by New York City charging the wireless service provider with using “abusive sales tactics” at the company’s Metro by T-Mobile stores.

T-Mobile allegedly sold used phones to customers as new at dozens of the stores, charged fake taxes and unexpected fees, and provided financing that resulted in higher-than-expected prices, according to an NBC/4New York report. A 30-day return policy was also deceptive and loaded with restrictions, the lawsuit charges.

Altogether the city identified 2,200 violations at 56 Metro stores in all five boroughs of New York City, including authorized dealers and stores run by T-Mobile’s MetroPCS NY unit, according to a Reuters story.

T-Mobile said it is investigating the allegations.

Juniper Networks Pays $11.7 Million To Settle Bribery Charges

Networking and cybersecurity vendor Juniper Networks is paying $11.7 million in penalties to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to settle bribery charges.

The SEC charged that Juniper, through subsidiaries in Russia and China, had committed violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, specifically the internal accounting controls and recordkeeping provisions of the FCPA, according to an SEC statement.

According to the SEC, sales employees of Juniper’s Russia subsidiary secretly funded leisure trips for customers, including government officials, through off-book accounts. And sales employees of Juniper’s China subsidiaries falsified trip and meeting agendas for customer events to understate the true amount of entertainment involved in the trips, the SEC said.

Without admitting to or denying the findings, Juniper has agreed to cease and desist committing the violations and will pay $11.7 million, including a $6.5 million civil penalty, $4 million in disgorgement and $1,245,018 in prejudgment interest, according to the SEC statement.

Yahoo Email Outage Hits Thousands Of Users

Yahoo’s email service was down for more than seven hours Thursday, and thousands of users, particularly in the U.K., Spain, France and Germany, were impacted, according to Reuters and CNN Business.

The website Downdetector said by 2 a.m. ET it had received more than 5,000 reports about the Yahoo Mail outage and hundreds more about other Yahoo services being unavailable, CNN Business said.

At 9:30 a.m., Yahoo said most services were back online after what it described as “a technical issue,” without elaboration.