5 Companies That Dropped The Ball This Week

Salesforce CEO Calls Microsoft 'Alley Thugs'

Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff isn't a fan of Microsoft's. No surprise there: Benioff often makes this clear with his derisive, sneering opinions on the way Microsoft conducts business.

This week, Benioff responded to Microsoft's patent infringement lawsuit against Salesforce.com in the way he usually does, by name-calling. "They are the alley thugs. I am disappointed to see this from a former leader of our industry. This is not significant," Benioff said in Salesforce's Q1 earnings call, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Seriously, who else talks like this in the IT industry? OK, Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison, but who else? Point is, we're used to hearing this sort of rhetoric from Benioff. How about something different? Something like, "We're confident in the strength of our patent portfolio, blah blah blah". The constant attacking just gets old after awhile.


Computer Associates Changes Its Name, Again

Really, Computer Associates? You're changing your name AGAIN? Just when we were getting used to "CA", you have to go and throw us another curveball?

In case you haven't heard, CA Technologies is the new name for CA Inc., which was previously known as Computer Associates. The company has been aggressively acquiring companies to fill out its cloud computing portfolio and apparently thought it would be a good idea to change its name, even though it just changed its name from Computer Associates in 2006. Anyone else feeling dizzy?

The big problem with the name CA Technologies is that it sounds a lot like a solution provider name. It's inevitable that someone is going to confuse CA Technologies for a VAR, and then all kinds of confusion will ensue.

Palm Clams Up Over Store Outage

OK, so Palm just got acquired by Hewlett-Packard last month for $1.2 billion. So maybe the celebration party went on too long or something, but Palm dropped the ball this week by not responding with enough details about a glitch that took down its App Catalog mobile application store last weekend. Users of Palm Pre and Palm Pixi smartphones received various error messages when they tried to log in, and while Palm fixed the issue promptly, it has yet provide information on what caused the glitch and how long users were blocked from accessing the store.

Palm developers stand to lose here in terms of getting lower ratings on their mobile apps due to users that were frustrated with the glitch and needed to vent. In any event, seems like there's more to this story than meets the eye.

Apple Gets Shamed Into Accepting Cash

Apple received another PR black eye this week when Diane Campbell, a northern California resident, tried to pay for an iPad at the Palo Alto Apple store with cash, but was refused. Apple's sales policy limits buyers to 2 iPads and requires them to pay by credit or debit card, in order to prevent people from buying tons of iPads and selling them abroad for more money.

Campbell, who is disabled and on a fixed income, had saved $600 specifically for an iPad, and the story went viral after appearing on San Francisco Bay Area television. Apple later relented, but for a company that's been doing its best impression of the Evil Empire lately, it was an unfortunate incident.

Microsoft Deep Sixes Response Point, Says OCS Can Serve SMBs

It was a week of reminiscing in the Microsoft channel after the company killed off its Response Point small business VoIP system, which was once one of Bill Gates' pet projects. While most VARs agree with Microsoft's decision to discontinue Response Point, some are questioning Microsoft's logic for the move, particularly the part about Office Communications Server being suitable for SMBs. That may prove to be true, but for some solution providers, OCS is pretty challenging to deploy, and may cost more than SMBs are willing to shell out.

For our roundup of vendors that came to win this week, click here.