5 Companies That Had A Rough Week


The Week Ending August 31

Topping this week's roundup of those having a rough week is Google, which was the target of a U.S. Senator's letter requesting a Federal Trade Commission investigation for possible antitrust violations.

Also making the list this week are AMD for losing a key executive at a critical time in the company's move to 7nm processors; Apple for losing its No. 2 spot in the worldwide smartphone market; Microsoft for a significant vulnerability in a key Windows software tool; and Air Canada for a security breach of its mobile application.

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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U.S. Senator Calls For FTC Investigation Of Google Over Search, Ad Practices

Google could find itself the subject of a Federal Trade Commission investigation for potential antitrust violations if the FTC follows through with a request from U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch.

In a letter to the FTC Thursday Hatch asked the FTC to investigate potential antitrust violations by Google around its search and digital advertising practices. Hatch noted that in the past Google has placed restrictions on publishers' search advertisements from Google competitors.

Google was hit with a massive $5.05 billion fine from the European Union last month for alleged antitrust violations.

AMD Loses Key Chip Executive

AMD disclosed this week that Jim Anderson, senior vice president and general manager of the chipmaker's Computing and Graphics Business Group, is leaving to become CEO of Lattice Semiconductor.

Anderson's departure comes as AMD readies a critical move to a line of 7nm processors that are expected to compete with Intel's 10nm chips next year.

Anderson was responsible for AMD's client computing products, including the Ryzen CPUs and Radeon graphics cards.

Apple Loses No. 2 Spot In Global Smartphone Sales

A report released this week by market researcher Gartner shows Apple losing its No. 2 position in the global smartphone market to Huawei in the second quarter.

Gartner said the total number of smartphones sold to consumers in the quarter reached 374 million units, up 2 percent from the second quarter of 2017.

While Apple's unit sales in the quarter increased slightly, to 44.7 million units from 44.3 million units one year before, its market share dipped to 11.9 percent from 12.1 percent in the second quarter of 2017.

Huawei's smartphone sales soared, meanwhile, to 49.8 million units from just under 36 million units one year earlier. That boosted Huawei's market share to 13.3 percent from 9.8 percent one year ago. That was enough to take over the No. 2 market-share position, knocking Apple down to No. 3.

Samsung retained the No. 1 market-share position, even though its unit sales declined to 72.3 million from 82.9 million one year earlier, dropping its market share to 19.3 percent from 22.6 percent.

Microsoft Responding To Report Of Critical Bug In Windows Task Scheduler

A researcher this week revealed a zero-day vulnerability in the Windows Task Scheduler in 64-bit Windows 10 and Windows Server 16, according to multiple published reports.

There are no known workarounds for the bug and currently no patch to fix it. A Microsoft spokesman indicated to the Threatpost website that its standard policy is to address such vulnerabilities through its "Patch Tuesday" updates. The next Patch Tuesday is Sept. 11.

The vulnerability resides in the Advanced Local Procedure Call interface within the Windows Task Scheduler, a Windows function that allows users to schedule application launches at pre-determined times. If exploited, the bug could allow local users to obtain system privileges.

The vulnerability was first reported on Twitter earlier this week by SandboxEscaper and has been confirmed by other security analysts, including CERT/CC.

Air Canada Shuts Down Mobile App After Hacker Breach

Air Canada locked down its mobile application this week and urged its 1.7 million users to change their passwords after the airline detected a potential breach of its network.

The airline said it detected "unusual log-in behavior" on the mobile application between Aug. 22 and 24, according to a story posted on the CBC website. Personal information for about 20,000 customers "may potentially have been improperly accessed" in the breach.

The application stores customer information such as names, email addresses and phone numbers. But the airline said customers' passport information may also have been compromised if they stored it in the app, according to the story. Any credit card data stored in the application would have been encrypted, the airline said.