5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

For the week ending June 14, CRN looks at IT companies that were unfortunate, unsuccessful or just didn't make good decisions.


The Week Ending June 14

Topping this week's roundup of those having a rough week are T-Mobile and Sprint, whose plans to merge may have hit a major roadblock.

Also making the list this week are Huawei for having to delay the debut of a new laptop because of U.S. technology restrictions, Symantec and Evite for reported security breaches, and Amazon for facing a pair of lawsuits charging that its Alexa smart assistant is illegally recording childrens' voices.

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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.

9 States, D.C. File Lawsuit Aiming To Block T-Mobile-Sprint Merger

Telecommunications giants T-Mobile and Sprint, which are pursuing a $26.5 billion merger, hit a road block this week when nine states and Washington D.C. filed a lawsuit opposing the plan.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in New York, argues that the mega-merger would decrease competition in the retail mobile telecommunications services market and raise prices for consumers.

Reports in "The Hill" and other publications said the lawsuit creates a major obstacle for the proposed merger.

T-Mobile and Sprint are the No. 3 and No. 4 largest mobile service carriers in the U.S. In April 2018 they announced an agreement to merge under the T-Mobile name.

Lacking Microsoft And Intel Technology, Huawei Halts New Laptop Launch

Huawei's blacklisting from acquiring U.S.-made technology has reportedly caused the first product casualty at the Chinese technology giant.

Huawei has reportedly had to scrap the launch of a new laptop addition to its MateBook series because U.S. government actions to block U.S. technology sales to the company mean that Huawei is unable to obtain Intel chips or Microsoft Windows operating system software.

In mid-May the U.S. Commerce Department added Huawei to its so-called "entity list" of foreign companies that are prohibited from purchasing technology from U.S. companies without government approval. The agency did so because it said there was a "reasonable basis to conclude that Huawei is engaged in activities that are contrary to U.S. national security or foreign policy interest."

Reported Symantec Breach Exposes Purported Client List, Passwords In Demo Lab

Security software developer Symantec scrambled this week to respond to a report that a data breach in February gave hackers access to account numbers, passwords and a purported list of prominent Australian clients.

Symantec characterized the breach as a "minor incident" because it involved a self-enclosed demo lab in Australia that wasn't connected to the company's corporate network. The company said it did not report the breach, which was disclosed by the Guardian Australia, because the lab did not host or have any personal data stolen.

The hackers targeted Symantec accounts belonging to several large Australian businesses as well as all major Australian government departments, according to the Guardian report. The hackers extracted a list of supposed clients of Symantec's CloudSOC cloud access security broker services, as well as account managers and account numbers. Symantec said the data in the exposed system included dummy emails and a small number of low-level and non-sensitive files only used for demonstration – and not production – purposes.

Evite Website Operator Discloses Security Breach, Loss Of User Data

Evite, the popular online invitation and social planning website service, acknowledged this week that it was the victim of a cyberattack and has been notifying customers about the incident.

Evite, according to a company statement, discovered the attack when a hacker named Gnosticplayers put personal data from Evite users up for sale on the dark web in April. Gnosticplayers claimed to have 10 million Evite user records including full names, email addresses, user names and passwords.

Evite said the breach may also have compromised birth dates, phone numbers and mailing addresses.

The malicious activity began on February 22, according to Evite, and involved an inactive data storage file of user accounts with information dated 2013 and earlier.

Amazon Hit With Lawsuits Claiming Alexa Records Childrens' Voices Without Consent

Amazon found itself on the wrong end of two lawsuits this week charging that the company's Alexa smart assistant records and retains voiceprints of children without their permission.

The lawsuits, which seek class-action status, were filed in California Superior Court in Los Angeles and U.S. Federal Court in Seattle. The California lawsuit was filed on behalf of an 8-year-old boy while the federal suit was filed on behalf of a 10-year-old Massachusetts girl. The story was originally reported by the Seattle Times.

The lawsuits maintain that the recording and retention of voice prints without consent violates laws in Illinois, Michigan, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington.