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5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

For the week ending July 12, CRN looks at IT companies that were unfortunate, unsuccessful or just didn't make good decisions.

The Week Ending July 12

Topping this week's roundup of those having a rough week is Twitter, which suffered a global service outage Thursday.

Also making the "Rough Week" list are Amazon Web Services and AWS CTO Werner Vogels after an AWS event in New York was interrupted by protests from immigration activists. Marriott International is on the list after it learned that it's facing a $124 million fine for a security breach of the hotel chain's reservation database.

Apple had a rough week when it had to scramble to disable the Walkie-Talkie application on the Apple Watch after the discovery of a flaw that could allow someone to listen in on another person's iPhone conversation. And Microsoft spent the week dealing with blowback about its plan to end the popular internal use rights benefit – a decision the company reversed on Friday.

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 5 Companies That Came To Win roundup.

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Twitter Suffers Brief, But Widespread Outage

It only lasted about an hour, but Twitter suffered a global outage Thursday afternoon, cutting off access to the social media site and its mobile applications around the world.

For about an hou,r people trying to access Twitter were greeted with the message "Something is technically wrong. Thanks for noticing – we're going to fix it up and have things back to normal soon." Reports of the outage on such sites as Downdetector began spiking shortly before 3:00 EDT (12:00 PDT).

Service began returning to normal around 3:45 EDT (12:45 PDT), although some reports said the service remained spotty. Twitter later blamed the outage on an internal system configuration change.

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AWS Event, CTO Keynote Interrupted By Protesters

Thursday was a tough day for Amazon Web Services—and especially for CTO Werner Vogels (pictured), whose keynote speech at an AWS event in New York was interrupted multiple times by activists protesting the company’s ties to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Vogels was attempting to deliver a keynote speech at the AWS Summit at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York when protesters in different sections of the audience stood up during different points of the presentation, some shouting “Cut ties to ICE,” before being escorted out by security.

Hundreds of immigrant rights protestors also blocked traffic near the convention center, briefly shutting down 11th Avenue at 34th Street.

The protestors charged that AWS’ data collection and cloud computing services are being used to help the Trump administration in its crackdown on immigration. They called on AWS to sever contracts with software firm Palantir Technologies and other companies that provide technology services to ICE and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

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Marriott Fined $124 Million For Reservation System Security Breach

Marriott International learned this week that it will get hit with a fine of 99.2 million British pounds (about U.S. $124 million) by the U.K.'s Information Commissioner's Officer for a security breach of the hotel chain's reservation database that exposed personal data from more than 339 million guests.

Marriott disclosed the breach of the Starwood reservation system in November, acknowledging that the system's security was compromised as far back as 2014, exposing sensitive data from hotel guests including names, birth dates, phone numbers, email addresses and even passport numbers.

This week the U.K.'s Information Commissioner's Office, in a statement, said it intends to levy the fine against Marriott for violating Europe's General Data Protection Regulations, based on information Marriott provided this week in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Marriott has said it intends to contest the fine.

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Apple Disables Walkie-Talkie App After Discovery Of Apple Watch Bug

Apple this week disabled the Walkie-Talkie application on the Apple Watch after the discovery of a flaw that could allow someone to listen in on another person's iPhone conversation without consent.

Apple said it had disabled the feature while it works on a fix for the vulnerability. In a statement to TechCrunch, Apple apologized for the problem and said it was not aware of any exploitation of the bug. Apple introduced the Walkie-Talkie feature in the WatchOS 5 release in September 2018.

A similar bug was discovered in January in the FaceTime application on Apple iPhones. Apple quickly fixed that vulnerability.

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Microsoft Rescinds Decision To End Internal Use Rights After Outcry From Partners

Microsoft on Friday backed off its plan to end the popular internal use rights benefit for channel partners after the company faced a barrage of criticism from partners this week over the controversial decision.

Last week Microsoft announced its intention to end the benefit, which provides partners with free Microsoft products for internal business usage, citing the shift to cloud-based products and the added costs for the necessary resources and support.

That sparked an outcry from partners who protested the decision in online communities, started an online petition against the move, and indicated they planned to abandon their Microsoft Action Pack subscriptions.

On Friday Microsoft Channel Chief Gavriella Schuster, in a blog post, said Microsoft had listened to the feedback from its partners and was fully rescinding its decision to stop offering the internal use rights.

"This means [partners] will experience no material changes this coming fiscal year, and [partners] will not be subject to reduced IUR licenses or increased costs related to those licenses next July as previously announced," Schuster wrote.

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