5 Companies That Had A Rough Week


The Week Ending Dec. 7

Topping this week's roundup of those having a rough week is Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou's arrest in Canada in relation to alleged efforts to sell HP products to Iran nearly a decade ago.

Also making the list this week are Qualcomm's latest round of layoffs; Quora revealing a major data breach affecting millions of users; Blockchain company cutting staff by 13 percent; and iPhone component suppliers facing hard times.

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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Huawei CFO Arrested In Canada

It was a tough week for Meng Wanzhou, Huawei's chief financial officer, who was arrested in Canada and may be extradited to the U.S. in relation to alleged efforts to sell HP products to Iran nearly a decade ago in violation of U.S. trade sanctions.

Meng had been sought for extradition by the United States. That stemmed from an investigation into an alleged effort to sell U.S.-made products to Iran in violation of U.S. laws.

The case involved an effort in 2010 by Skycom Tech, a Hong Kong company reportedly managed by Meng, to sell HP equipment valued at more than 1.3 million euros to Iran-based Mobile Telecommunications Co.

Meng was arrested in Vancouver on Dec. 1 while transferring between flights.

In addition to being Huawei's CFO, Meng is also a deputy chair on Huawei's board of directors and is the daughter of Ren Zhengfei, Huawei's founder.

Qualcomm Lays Off 269 Employees

Qualcomm confirmed to CRN on Friday that it is laying off 269 employees between offices in San Diego, Calif., and Raleigh, N.C., as the semiconductor company's data center ambitions continue to fade.

"Qualcomm is reducing our investment in the data center business but remains committed to business obligations and upcoming compute opportunities at the edge of 5G networks and AI inference cloud solutions," a spokesperson said in a statement.

The layoffs are another sign of the company's diminishing ambitions to make a dent in the server chip business dominated by Intel. The San Diego-based company had invested hundreds of millions of dollars on the initiative, but it has been stymied by a failed takeoff attempt by Broadcom and its legal battle with Apple.

Quora Says Data Breach May Have Affected 100 Million Users

Quora, a popular question-and-answer website founded by former Facebook employees, said hackers may have stolen data belonging to approximately 100 million users.

The company said the security breach by an unknown attacker may have compromised user account data including names, email addresses, encrypted passwords and data imported from linked networks authorized by users.

Quora said it is still investigating the incident and has hired a digital forensics and security firm to assist. The company is also notifying affected users and invalidating compromised passwords. The security breach was discovered last Friday and disclosed by the company on Monday.

Ethereum Platform Developer ConsenSys Cuts Staff By 13 Percent

ConsenSys, the startup developer of blockchain software that runs on the open-source Ethereum distributed computing platform, is laying off 13 percent of its staff as the company acknowledged that moving to the next "ConsenSys 2.0" stage of its development has been "difficult."

The once-high-flying Brooklyn, N.Y.-based company released a statement Thursday confirming the cutbacks.

"We are ushering in a new chapter in the development of our organization, ConsenSys 2.0," according to the statement. "This is guided by our commitment to position ourselves strategically for our next period of growth, as the blockchain ecosystem matures."

"Excited as we are about ConsenSys 2.0, our first step in this direction has been a difficult one: we are streamlining several parts of the business including ConsenSys Solutions, spokes, and hub services, leading to a 13% reduction of mesh members," the company said. "Projects will continue to be evaluated with rigor, as the cornerstone of ConsenSys 2.0 is technical excellence, coupled with innovative blockchain business models."

As iPhone Sales Reportedly Slow, Apple Components Suppliers Face Hard Times

Reports that sales of the latest generation of iPhones are sluggish led to a rough week for the companies that provide Apple with the components used to manufacture the devices.

Thursday Taiwanese iPhone lens maker reported a significant decline in product sales, according to a report on MarketsInsider, leading to a 25 percent drop in revenue in November compared to one year earlier. The company's shares took a 10-percent hit in pre-market trading on the news.

Lumentum Holdings, a manufacturer of optical and photonic technology used in iPhones, cut its revenue and profit forecasts last month citing reduced orders from a major customer, according to BusinessInsider.

This week Lumentum's stock price fell, as did share prices for other leading Apple component suppliers Intel, Texas Instruments and Micron, MarketsInsider said.