5 Companies That Dropped The Ball This Week

Apple Takes Top Spot In Security Flaws

It was a tough week for Apple on the security front: First, Whitehat Security CTO Jeremiah Grossman showed how the autofill feature in Safari (and possibly, other WebKit browsers) can be used by miscreants to pilfer personal information from users' address books.

Then, security research firm Secunia, in a report issued this week, ranked Apple number one in terms of the number of security vulnerabilities in its products. Secunia also found that Mozilla's Firefox and Apple's Safari ranked No. 1 and No. 2 respectively as the most vulnerable third party applications.

Microsoft Only Wants Bing On Windows Phone 7 Devices

Windows Phone 7 devices aren't coming until late this year, but Microsoft is already making it known that Bing is going to be the only default search engine on the devices. And Microsoft's reasoning here conjures memories of Internet Explorer bundling in Windows.

"The search engine has been heavily integrated into the OS, so it would be hard to offer an alternative," Microsoft Senior Product Manager Greg Sullivan told the mobile blog Pocket-lint this week.

Even Apple, which gets criticized for its walled garden approach, has allowed Bing, Yahoo and Google onto the iPhone.

IBM Misses Expectations, Messes With Texas

IBM didn't have a bad fiscal second quarter, but the company did miss Wall Street's expectations. Revenue was up just 2 percent in the quarter, and investors were less than thrilled.

Now, an average quarter isn’t a big deal in and of itself, but IBM now also finds itself in the crosshairs of the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR), which claims IBM failed to hold up its end of an $863 million data center contract.

"IBM promised an investment in people, processes, and technology to bring the benefits of data center consolidation to the State of Texas," said Karen Robinson, DIR Executive Director, in a statement. "We have had continual problems with basic service delivery and IBM has failed to deliver on their promises."

IBM denies the claims and says it has met its contractual obligations. But IBM, a word of advice: Texas is a big state, and, y'know, they have this motto about not messin' with it.

Dell Ships Server Motherboards With Malware

Dell doesn't know how it happened, and it may not be entirely its fault, but somehow, the W32.Spybot worm made its way onto some replacement server motherboards the PC maker shipped to customers.

Dell says it's not aware of attacks stemming from the infected motherboards, and that the worm got onto motherboards via infected testing software.

The W32.Spybot worm is designed to harvest personal data, and it's been around since 2003, which suggests that Dell should have been able to detect it. Dell is shipping replacements to affected customers, and now it's waiting to see if there will be any unpleasant repercussions.

That, coupled with word that Dell has paid a $100 million penalty to settle a years-long investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission into its financial practices made for a very bad week indeed.

More States Jump Into Google Street View Investigation

Google's Street View problem got bigger this week as more states got involved in the investigation that's being led by Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. Thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia are now demanding that Google explain its testing procedure for the Street View software, which the company says was tweaked by a rogue engineer to gather personal data from Wi-Fi access points.

Blumenthal and the multi-state coalition are asking Google to identify the employee responsible for changing the code and to explain how Google didn't realize what was going on. This problem isn't going away, not by a long shot.

"Google’s responses continue to generate more questions than they answer," Blumenthal said in a statement this week. ’We will take all appropriate steps -- including potential legal action if warranted -- to obtain complete, comprehensive answers.’

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