5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

For the week ending Oct. 18, CRN looks at IT companies that were unfortunate, unsuccessful or just didn't make good decisions.


The Week Ending Oct. 18

Topping this week's roundup of those having a rough week is Broadcom, which was issued an order by the European Commission, as part of an ongoing antitrust investigation, to cease making exclusivity deals with customers.

Also making the list is Google, whose acquisition of business analytics software company Looker is getting more regulatory scrutiny. DXC Technology and a former manager are caught up in a lawsuit from a subcontractor over alleged fraudulent billing by the employee. Oracle mourning the death of co-CEO Mark Hurd. And managers of President Donald Trump’s campaign website scrambled this week to fix a serious security vulnerability.

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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.

Broadcom Ordered By EU To Halt Exclusivity Deals Amidst Antitrust Probe

Broadcom this week was ordered by the European Commission to halt making exclusivity deals with six of its customers while the EC, the European Union’s governing body, conducts an antitrust investigation of the U.S. chipmaker.

The EC opened an investigation into Broadcom’s business practices in June saying the chipmaker’s actions could be creating “serious and irreparable harm to competition,” according to a CNBC story.

This week, in a preliminary decision, the EC ordered that Broadcom cease its practice of including exclusivity clauses in contracts with six TV and modem manufacturers, according to a Reuters story. The order is effective for three years while the EC conducts a more thorough investigation.

Broadcom said it would comply with the order, but would appeal it in European courts, the Reuters story said.

Google’s $2.6 Billion Looker Acquisition Under Greater DOJ Scrutiny

Sticking with the topic of companies under the regulatory microscope, Google’s planned acquisition of business analytics software developer Looker Data Sciences for $2.6 billion is getting a closer look by the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust division.

The DoJ antitrust division is conducting a deep review of the proposed acquisition and has initiated a “second request” for additional information from Google and Looker in order to assess whether the deal will harm competition.

The acquisition deal was announced in June. Google intends to leverage the Looker technology to bolster the capabilities of Google Cloud.

The report about the increased scrutiny of the Looker acquisition comes as the DOJ and the Federal Trade Commission are looking more closely at Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple to determine whether they engage in anti-competitive business practices.

Former DXC Technology Manager Accused Of Fraud In Citibank Dealings: Lawsuit

A federal civil lawsuit filed this week charges that the former general manager of DXC Technology’s account with Citibank carried out a fraud scheme in which he put family and friends on the payroll and then submitted fabricated time sheets and expenses.

Mark Angarola worked for DXC until March and was responsible for the company’s overall relationship with Citibank, according to his LinkedIn page.

Shortly before he left DXC the company discovered “issues” with the billing and expenses of a Plainsboro, N.J.-based staffing service provider, Atlas Communications, which performed work on the Citibank account for DXC, according to a lawsuit filed by Atlas in U.S. District Court in New Jersey.

The suit claims that Angarola directed the hiring of certain consultants and contractors who were his friends and family members and had those individuals submit fabricated time sheets and expenses to Atlas for payment to DXC.

In the lawsuit Atlas said DXC has refused to pay some $3 million in invoices for work Atlas provided to service Citibank sites both during and after DXC’s investigation of the billing and expense issues. DXC has refused to pay any invoices since September 2018, according to the lawsuit.

DXC declined to comment for CRN while Angarola, reached by CRN, said “none of it is accurate” when asked about the allegations.

Oracle Co-CEO Mark Hurd Dies At 62

Friday was surely a tough day for everyone at Oracle on the news that co-CEO Mark Hurd had died, a little more than a month after he took a leave of absence for health-related reasons. He was 62.

Hurd joined Oracle in 2010 as president and became CEO in 2014 in a dual role with Safra Catz after Oracle founder Larry Ellison stepped down from the CEO job.

Oracle did not elaborate on the details around Hurd’s health when he took the leave of absence and the company did not say more on Friday about the circumstances surrounding his death.

In an online posting, Ellison said: “Mark was my close and irreplaceable friend and trusted colleague. Oracle has lost a brilliant and beloved leader who personally touched the lives of so many of us during his decade at Oracle. All of us will miss Mark’s keen mind and rare ability to analyze, simplify and solve problems quickly. Some of us will miss his friendship and mentorship. I will miss his kindness and sense of humor.”

“Mark leaves his beloved wife Paula, two wonderful daughters who were the joy of his life, and his much larger extended family here at Oracle who came to love him,” Ellison said.

Trump Campaign Website Left Open To Email Server Attack

A misconfigured website development tool exposed the DonaldJTrump.com campaign website, along with hundreds of other sites with email servers, to potential attack.

The problem is tied to the Laravel website development tool that’s used to test websites for errors and misconfigurations before they go live, according to a Threatpost story. The PHP framework tool is sometimes left active on a site without disabling the debug mode, exposing back-end website details such as database locations, passwords and other sensitive information, Threatpost said.

The problem with the Trump website, which is used to solicit donations and get visitors to sign up for campaign emails, was discovered on Oct. 11 by security firm Comparitech, Threatpost said.

Comparitech, in a report issued Thursday, said it initially reached out to Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale and got no response, contacted the New York Police Department, and then contacted other people connected with the Trump campaign before the vulnerability was fixed on Oct. 16.

Comparitech said it was impossible to determine when the debug mode was enabled or how long the data was at risk.