5 Companies That Had A Rough Week


The Week Ending Nov. 30

Topping this week's roundup of those having a rough week is Apple, which faces the prospect of having a 10-percent tariff slapped on iPhones manufactured in China, according to comments from President Donald Trump this week.

Also making the list this week are Lexmark, which once again finds itself without a CEO after the sudden departure of its third chief executive in two years; Marriott and the rest of the Starwood hotel network for dealing with the fallout of a major database security breach; Dell for also dealing with the aftermath of an apparent customer data security breach; and Google for an employee protest surrounding a controversial development project for China.

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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Apple May Face Tariffs On iPhones, Other Products Made In China

President Donald Trump this week said he is considering expanding tariffs on imported goods from China to include Apple's iPhones and other tech product such as laptops.

Trump said he could slap a 10-percent tariff on iPhones, a move that would either force Apple to raise iPhone prices or earn smaller profits on the lucrative devices.

Trump made the comments in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. Apple's stock dropped 1.67 percent in after-hours trading after Trump's comments were published.

Dell Network Breached In Attempt To Extract Customer Information

Dell this week dealt with the fallout of an apparent security breach, disclosing that it had detected and disrupted activity on its network attempting to extract customer information from Dell.com and DellPremier.com.

The company said it's possible that some names, email addresses and hashed passwords were removed from the network in the incident, although the company said there is no conclusive evidence that information was actually extracted.

Customer account information for DellEMC.com and DellTechnologies.com was not involved, the company said. The incident also did not impact any of the company's products or services, and that credit card and other sensitive customer information wasn't targeted.

The company said it immediately implemented countermeasures, initiated an investigation, retained a digital forensics firm to conduct an independent investigation and engaged law enforcement.

Marriott Breach Exposes Personal Data Of Up To 500 Million Guests

Sticking with the topic of security breaches, Marriott International disclosed Friday that a breach of the Starwood guest reservation database compromised personal data on as many as 500 million customers.

The 6,700-property hotel chain said there had been unauthorized access to the Starwood network between 2014 and Sept. 10 of this year and that an unauthorized party had copied the data and taken steps toward removing it.

The breach is believed to have compromised data on as many as 500 million guests who made a reservation at a Starwood property, which includes Marriott hotels and other Starwood brands including Sheraton, W and Westin hotels.

Marriott said that for 327 million guests the compromised data included names, addresses, dates of birth, email addresses, phone numbers and passport numbers. The hackers are also believed to have gained access to encrypted payment card information and possibly both security components needed to unencrypt the data.

Google Employees Protest Chinese Search Development Project

The employee unrest at Google goes on. This week a group of Google employees signed a public letter calling on the company to drop its plans to develop a Chinese search product that censors results, according to a Bloomberg story.

The development effort, known as Project Dragonfly, would enable state surveillance at a time when the Chinese government is expanding controls over citizens and clamping down on dissent, the letter said. Google has been riven by internal dissent about the project since the plans became public in August, according to the Bloomberg report.

The controversy is the latest case of Google workers expressing their unhappiness with company management. On Nov. 1, many Google workers staged a walkout from company offices worldwide to protest what they saw as a workplace culture that fosters sexual harassment and discrimination. That followed a New York Times investigative story that detailed years of sexual harassment and abuse allegations, multi-million-dollar severance packages for accused executives and a lack of transparency over the cases.

Lexmark – Once Again – Is Searching For A New CEO

Printer maker Lexmark is beginning a search for a new CEO this week on the heels of the sudden resignation of CEO Rich Geruson after just 14 months on the job.

Geruson (pictured) resigned effective Nov. 20, citing "personal reasons." Lexmark, which has had three CEOs in two years, declined to comment on Geruson's departure.

It has been a tumultuous two years at Lexmark after the company was taken private in November 2016 when it was acquired by Apex Technology and PAG Asia Capital. Then-CEO Paul Rooke stepped down at the time of the acquisition and David Reeder was named CEO.

But Reeder left in June 2017, also citing personal reasons, and Geruson was hired in October 2017.