5 Companies That Dropped The Ball This Week

AT&T Ignores Android's Desire To Be Open

AT&T is becoming as predictable as the sun rising in the east -- at least when it comes to doing things that irritate its customer base. The latest example came this week with the revelation, first reported by Computerworld, that AT&T is preventing unofficial apps from being installed on its new Android powered HTC Aria smartphone. This means customers can't download a tethering app and use it to avoid paying for AT&T's pricey tethering offering.

AT&T did the same thing earlier this year with the Motorola Backflip, so this isn't a huge surprise, but it's another example of AT&T having an elastic interpretation of the openness of Android. Not to mention another example of AT&T giving a collective middle finger to its subscriber base.

Apple Mucks Up iPhone Pre-orders

It seems to happen every time Apple releases a new product: massive interest in the product, followed by shortages, sometimes involving technical glitches that toss gasoline on the fire of fanboy and fangirl passions.

This week, Apple said more than 600,000 iPhone orders caused "malfunctions" with its online ordering process, as well as AT&T's. Apple pushed back the planned June 24 launch of the iPhone 4 nearly two weeks.

Apple, as it typically does in these situations, apologized for the glitch while also patting itself on the back for such an unprecedented level of demand for one of its products.

Apple dropped the ball from a customer service standpoint, but investors don't seem to care: Apple shares were trading at an all time high of $272.90 on Thursday.

Well, you know what they say: All's fair in love and consumer electronics.

Best Buy Limps To Weak Quarter

Hear that? That's the sound of a thousand solution providers cackling with glee over big box retailer Best Buy missing Wall Street's sales and earnings expectations during its first quarter.

Best Buy reported $155 million in net income, or 36 cents per share, on sales of $10.79 billion for the quarter. Analysts were expecting earnings of 50 cents per share on revenue of $10.94 billion for the quarter. Investors reacted to the news like being told they'd need a root canal, sending shares down 5 percent Tuesday.

Analysts attributed part of Best Buy's struggles to the price wars it's engaged in with retail rivals like Wal-Mart and Amazon. For solution providers, there's a certain delicious irony here and it's one that certainly didn't go overlooked.

Intuit Outage Leaves Customers In The Lurch

Intuit experienced a massive outage affecting its TurboTax Online, QuickBooks Online, Quicken and QuickBase Web sites, which was apparently caused by a power failure that occurred during a routine maintenance procedure. The outage left thousands of SMB customers unable to process credit card payments and other transactions, and not surprisingly, they weren't too happy about it.

’This is very bad. Listen, if I am not able to process my credit cards before noon tomorrow, checks are going to bounce in my account. Who's going to pay for that?" one customer wrote on Intuit's customer support forum. ’This is insane not to have a backup and be down in the middle of the week,’ wrote another.

Twitter Says To Expect More Outages

Twitter experienced an outage this week and then essentially told its users to expect more in the future. The problem, Twitter execs said, is that networking issues have come to light as Twitter upgrades its systems, and these issues will take some time to address. Eventually, Twitter says it plans to double the capacity of its internal network, improve network monitoring and rebalance traffic on its internal network.

Twitter deserves credit for being honest, but the thought of the Fail Whale making more appearances isn't going over well within the micro-blogging company's customer/fan base. Of course, Twitter doesn't face much competition and it doesn't have paying customers, but the reality is that Twitter's efforts to monetize the platform through advertising will be stalled until the company gets its networking issues figured out once and for all.

Check out our roundup of vendors that came to win this week for a look at the companies that really brought their 'A' game.