Five Companies That Dropped The Ball This Week

Mac App Store Experiences Rocky Debut

Apple's Mac App Store launch was tarnished somewhat when miscreants came up with a cut-and-paste workaround that defeats the copy protection on paid apps. Users have reported problems with applications hanging during downloads as well. OK, it's a new service and glitches happen, but not exactly a sparkling debut.

Panasonic Gets Carried Away With Viera Tablet Tease

Panasonic used CES to tease its forthcoming Viera Tablet, which is more like a remote control on steroids for the company's Viera flat-panel TVs than a tablet PC. It's an interesting concept that represents the first baby steps of Panasonic's cloud computing strategy, but it's not coming until some undefined (by Panasonic) time later this year. Does that mean December, Panasonic? We want our Android remote and we want it now!

Google Misses Opportunity With Google TV Absence

Google reportedly asked its Google TV partners prior to CES to hold off on bringing Google TV products to the show because the software hasn’t been warmly embraced by customers. For vendors such as Samsung, this created awkwardness and resulted in a clumsy dance in which Google TV products were shown off surreptitiously, characterized as "experiments" as opposed to market-ready products. Meanwhile, several other vendors were proudly showing off IPTV wares and making names for themselves.

Microsoft Hotmail Suffers Major Outage

Microsoft this week said a load-balancing glitch temporarily deleted the inboxes and other messages of more than 17,000 Microsoft Windows Live Hotmail e-mail users, an issue that persisted for more than four days. And unsurprisingly, these users were plenty sore about it, too.

Microsoft was quick to take the blame, but for a company whose cloud computing vision is young and still evolving, it's the kind of thing that can give fodder to the critics.

HP Misses Chance For CES Tablet Star Turn

HP intends to tip its hand on webOS tablets on Feb. 9. But at CES this week, HP is very much on the periphery due to the ton of vendors that are showing off new tablets like a bunch of proud papas. This could either be a sign that HP has something so good coming Feb. 9 that it requires its own unconnected event, or evidence to suggest HP doesn’t have anything worth talking about at CES. Pity, because this year is the most buzz-filled edition to have come along in at least five years.