5 Companies That Had A Rough Week


The Week Ending April 5

Topping this week's roundup of those having a rough week is Facebook, which faced yet another controversy concerning its user data protection practices.

Also making the list this week are CompuCom for a $15 million first-quarter operating loss that caused parent company Office Depot to issue a warning to investors, Nvidia for scrambling to fix a series of security vulnerabilities in its Tegra drivers, and former HP CEO Leo Apotheker, who was grilled in a U.K. court this week in a lawsuit related to HP's 2011 Autonomy acquisition. Also having a rough week was Google, which shut down its failed Google Plus social media system.

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.

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Hundreds Of Millions Of Facebook User Records Exposed On Amazon Servers

Facebook just can't seem to get the data security thing right. This week a cybersecurity firm discovered that 540 million records about Facebook users were publicly exposed on the Amazon Web Services cloud computing service, according to reports from Reuters, CNN Business and other media outlets.

Cybersecurity firm UpGuard disclosed this week that it discovered 146 gigabytes of unprotected data containing 540 million records – including account names, identification numbers and other data – stored on Amazon servers by Cultura Colectiva, a Mexico City-based news site that is a Facebook third-party application developer.

Another AWS-stored database, from the application At the Pool, likewise exposed names, passwords and email addresses of 22,000 Facebook users.

In both cases the data was stored in such a way that it could be accessed and downloaded by the public, UpGuard said. On Wednesday Facebook scrambled to remove the databases from the AWS servers.

Office Depot Blames CompuCom For Lowered Q1 2019 Guidance

Office Depot Thursday warned investors that financial results for its first quarter came in lower than expected because its CompuCom division plans to report an operating loss of approximately $15 million.

CompuCom’s loss was driven by lower-than-expected revenue from existing customer projects as well as “less than commensurate reductions” in expenses, according to a statement from Office Depot. Office Depot also pointed to pressure from CompuCom spending as it developed and marketed new service offerings.

Boca Raton, Fla.-based Office Depot said it expects to report revenue of approximately $2.76 billion and adjusted operating income of approximately $65 million. Analysts had been expecting the company to report revenue of $2.83 billion, according to Zachs.

Shares of Office Depot traded down 16 cents, or more than 5 percent, at $2.72 Friday afternoon.

The company said CompuCom has taken action to improve future performance, including a reorganization of its customer-facing organization and a realignment of its sales teams aimed at getting more business out of existing accounts.

The company plans to disclose its full first-quarter financial results on May 8.

Nvidia Fixes Eight High-Severity Vulnerabilities

Chipmaker Nvidia was scrambling this week when it developed and released fixes for eight security flaws in its Linux for Tegra driver packages.

The vulnerabilies could allow local attackers with basic user privileges to elevate privileges and conduct denial-of-service or information disclosure attacks, according to a Threatpost report.

The fixes come on the heels of another set of security updates Nvidia issued in February to address security issues in the Nvidia GPU Display Driver that could lead to code execution, escalation of privileges, denial of service or information disclosure on vulnerable Linux and Windows systems, according to a Bleeping Computer report.

Former HP CEO Apotheker Faces Court Grilling Over Autonomy Acquisition

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Leo Apotheker found himself on the hot seat in a London courtroom this week in a lawsuit related to HP's $11 billion acquisition of U.K. software vendor Autonomy. And it wasn't a pretty picture, according to reports on The Register website.

The acquisition ultimately proved to be a failure and HP took an $8.8 billion write down on Autonomy's value. Hewlett Packard Enterprise is suing former Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch and the company's CFO in the U.K. for $5 billion in damages – leading to this week's testimony by Apotheker.

Under cross-examination Monday Apotheker acknowledged that while he read Autonomy's 2010 annual report prior to the acquisition, he didn't read the company's more recent 2011 financial results before the deal closed on October 2011. Apotheker said that "Maybe I didn't have time" when asked why, according to The Register report, and indicated he relied on other HP executives "to keep me informed."

In additional testimony Tuesday, Apotheker admitted that he did not read KPMG's due-diligence reports on Autonomy ahead of the acquisition. He also described as "poisonous" his working relationship with HP CFO Cathie Lesjak, who questioned the wisdom of the acquisition and even went to HP chairman Ray Lane in an effort to stop the deal from going through.

Google Begins Shutting Down Failed Google Plus Social Networking Service

Eight years after its launch, Google began shutting down its Google Plus social media platform this week after it failed to generate enough traffic and advertising revenue to make it a viable competitor to social media giants like Facebook and Twitter.

In addition to its failure to generate sufficient usage, Google Plus had become something of a security risk for Google after two significant data leaks exposed information on tens of millions of Google Plus users, notes The Verge website.

Google has been deleting Google Plus user accounts in preparation for the total shutdown of the system by the end of this month. But even that activity generated controversy as several reports noted that the deleted accounts included those of Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, taking part of Google's history with them.