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5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

For the week ending Nov. 22, CRN looks at IT companies that were unfortunate, unsuccessful or just didn't make good decisions.

The Week Ending Nov. 22

Topping this week's roundup of those having a rough week is HP Inc., which is facing the threat of a fight with Xerox over that company’s unsolicited bid to acquire HP.

Also making the list this week is Microsoft for having to deal with a Microsoft 365 service outage, Chinese communications companies Huawei and ZTE for a prohibition on U.S. companies buying their equipment under a government subsidy program, employees at Pivotal Software who face layoffs with the pending acquisition by VMware, and Google for disclosing a serious flaw it its Android camera 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 Five Companies That Came To Win roundup.

HP Faces Shareholder Battle Over Xerox Tender Offer Bid

Xerox, whose offer to buy HP Inc. was rejected this week, is threatening to take its bid directly to HP shareholders if HP leaders fail to respond to its due diligence request by Monday.

On Sunday, HP rejected a takeover offer from Xerox to acquire the printer and PC maker for $22.00 per share, saying the unsolicited bid “significantly undervalues HP and is not in the best interests of HP shareholders.”

HP now faces a Monday, 5 p.m. EST, deadline set by Xerox CEO John Visentin to agree to mutual confirmatory due diligence to support a merger.

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Microsoft Scrambles To Fix Widespread 365 Service Outage

Microsoft reported that a networking update caused the company’s Microsoft 365 cloud application services to “intermittently fail” Tuesday evening, Eastern Time, for users around the globe.

Reports of the outage began to surface around 8 p.m. EST, Tuesday with incident reports peaking at 8:18. The service outage specifically impacted Microsoft’s Office 365 applications such as Outlook, Teams, Skype for Business, Exchange Online and Sharepoint Online.

The downdetector.com web site showed the service disruption affecting customers in parts of the U.S., Canada, Australia and Asia.

Shortly after midnight Microsoft reported that it had restored all Microsoft 365 services. The company said that a recent networking update was responsible for the service outage and that Microsoft had rolled back the update to restore service.

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Huawei, ZTE Blocked By FCC From Billions In U.S. Federal Subsidy Dollars

Chinese telecoms Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp. have been designated as national security risks – and it’s going to cost them.

Members of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted unanimously Friday to prohibit U.S.-based telecom service providers from using an $85 billion government subsidy program, the Universal Service Fund, to buy equipment or services from the two Chinese companies.

The program provides money to help wireless carriers bring broadband service to rural areas.

The FCC said they took the action to address what they saw as a national security threat to the nation’s communications networks.

Still to be decided is the issue of whether telecommunications service providers with Huawei equipment already installed within their networks will have to remove that equipment. The FCC voted this week to consider that proposal with a final decision likely coming next year.

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Pivotal Employees To VMware: Do Not Betray Our Trust With Layoffs

These are uneasy times for employees at Pivotal Software who could be facing layoffs as VMware prepares to close its $2.7 billion acquisition of the company.

Reports this week said that as many as 150 Pivotal staffers could lose their jobs once the acquisition is complete. A large portion of the staff cuts are expected to come from Pivotal’s Workplace Operations business unit that helps onboard new hires, maintains corporate culture, manages Pivotal offices and sets up events. VMware reportedly plans to replace the unit with a contractor.

In an open letter to VMware and Pivotal executives, signed by more than 200 Pivotal employees, workers urged the two companies not to lay off staff.

“We understand that mergers are complex; perfection is impossible. However, the decision to replace Workplace Operations reveals a crucial gap in VMware’s understanding of Pivotal as an organization, and VMware’s understanding of our needs as practitioners,” the employee letter said. “Beyond this functional-understanding concern, it’s important for you to understand the morale impact of this decision on those employees whom you intend to retain.”

A VMware spokesperson said the two companies are working together to ensure the combined organization will “be structured for success.”

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Google Discloses ‘High-Severity” Android Camera Flaw

Google this week disclosed that security researchers discovered a high-severity vulnerability that could allow attackers to take control of the Google Camera App, the built-in smartphone camera for Android phones, according to reports on Threatpost and CNN Business.

The flaw, which was discovered by security research firm Checkmarx, could allow a hacker to take control of a phone’s camera and take photos or record video without a user’s permission using a malicious application.

The flaw potentially impacted hundreds of millions of phones including Google’s own Pixel phone, as well as Android phones from Samsung and other manufacturers.

The flaw was actually discovered in July. Google has issued a fix for its own phones and distributed a patch to Android partners. But some companies are still rolling out that fix, according to the Threatpost story.

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