5 Companies That Dropped The Ball This Week

Apple Gets Comeuppance On iPhone 4

When iPhone 4 users first started complaining about spotty reception and dropped calls when holding the device a certain way, Apple's response was, in so many words: Don't hold it that way. But the chorus of complaints continued unabated, and earlier this week Consumer Reports said it would withhold its recommendation of the iPhone 4 until Apple fixed the issue.

Meanwhile, Apple shares have taken a hit in the wake of the controversy. And according to Bloomberg News, Apple's senior antenna expert told Apple management about antenna issues with the iPhone 4 prior to its launch. Apple finally held a press conference Friday to address the iPhone 4 issue, and the company has learned there are limits to its customers' breathless adoration.

Research In Motion's Mojo Takes Another Hit

RIM is facing major competitive pressures from the iPhone and HTC's Android devices, and the sheer volume of choices that exist in today's mobile market may be relegating the BlackBerry to the sidelines. According to a recent ChangeWave Research consumer survey, 52 percent of prospective smartphone buyers said they'd purchase an iPhone, while just 6 percent said they'd go with a BlackBerry.

This obviously doesn't bode well for RIM, which is losing mind share with consumers and doesn't have much going on in its App World mobile apps marketplace. The popularity of the iPhone 4 has been a scary cultural phenomenon, but for RIM it's got to be even more frightening than that. HTC is no slouch either, with its Droid Incredible and Evo 4G devices still luring customers. RIM needs a home run soon, and it needs to get some momentum going on App World.

Motorola Gets Heavy-Handed With Droid X Mods

Motorola's Droid X launched this week through Verizon's online store, but enthusiasm for the device may have been dampened by reports that Motorola is getting aggressive about preventing hackers from unlocking, or "jailbreaking" the Droid X. According to published reports, Motorola has added an anti-tampering measure called eFuse to the Droid X that renders the device useless if attempts are made to modify it.

Carriers and handset makers often label these sorts of moves as security measures, but the Android developer and enthusiast community isn't buying that explanation. In fact, the negative PR that's being vented at Motorola is probably outweighing whatever business motive the company may have had with eFuse. The Droid X is a big launch for smartphone fans, but it's arriving with a large cloud of controversy.

Microsoft COO Turner Plays The Vista Card

Few would argue that Windows Vista was one of Microsoft's biggest product blunders. Now the term "Vista" has apparently become just as synonymous with disaster inside Microsoft as it has been outside the company.

This week, Microsoft COO Kevin Turner chided Apple over its iPhone 4 antenna issue and suggested that it could become a much larger problem. "It looks like iPhone 4 might be [Apple's] Vista," Turner told attendees of Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference this week.

Apple definitely has some explaining to do, but Turner's analogy here is startlingly ludicrous. As any Microsoft VAR will tell you, Vista caused headaches on a scale far greater than the iPhone 4 antenna glitch, affecting tens of thousands of customers and partners.

And, despite the iPhone 4 antenna glitch and other problems, people are still fighting to get their hands on the device. In contrast, people fought tooth and nail to avoid Vista, and Microsoft recently saw fit to extend Windows XP downgrade rights for the umpteenth time.

Most of all, it's bizarre to hear an executive using one of his own company's biggest failures to level criticism at a competitor's product. Turner is basically saying: "Apple, you guys botched the iPhone 4 as much as we botched Vista."

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison Rejected In NBA Bid

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison is used to getting what he wants, which is hardly surprising when you're the world's sixth-richest person. But in his bid to buy the NBA's Golden State Warriors, Ellison has been soundly rejected. On Thursday, Warriors owner Chris Cohan sold the team to a group of investors for $450 million.

Ellison had reportedly been close to a deal to buy the Warriors, and his disappointment was evident in a statement issued after the sale. "Although I was the highest bidder, Chris Cohan decided to sell to someone else. In my experience, this is a bit unusual. Nonetheless, I wish the Warriors and their fans nothing but success under their new ownership."

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