Five Companies That Dropped The Ball This Week

HP Dealing With Fallout From Leaked Leo Apotheker Memo

Hewlett Packard's executive leadership is hitting the Tylenol hard this week in the wake of a leaked internal executive memo in which CEO Leo Apotheker warned of "another tough quarter" and possible layoffs. HP also reported Q2 earnings, and its consumer PC and services businesses are suffering through tough times, even through its enterprise business is healthy. HP's Q3 outlook is also scaring the heck out of investors and causing many to jump ship.

There's lot to chew on here. First, the memo leak suggests that Apotheker may not have the full backing of his executive team. Second, Apotheker attributed the services weakness to ex-CEO Mark Hurd's cost cutting. This may be true but finger pointing seldom reflects well on the finger pointer. HP is embarking on an overhaul of its technology services business, putting it under control of ESSN. We'll see if that has the desired effect, but for the time being, the Fasten Seat Belt sign will remain lit at HP.

RIM Recalls 1,000 Blackberry Playbooks Over Bugs

Research In Motion's Playbook tablet has been less than a huge hit since its launch, and this week RIM said it has recalled about 1,000 Playbooks due to a defective operating system.

"RIM determined that approximately one thousand BlackBerry Playbook tablets (16 GB) were shipped with an OS build that may result in the devices being unable to properly load software upon initial set-up," a RIM representative told CRN this week.

RIM has already cut its Q1 forecast due to weak smartphone sales. Needless to say, the Playbook recall isn't going to help restore investors' confidence.

Microsoft Offers Mea Culpa For BPOS Outages

Microsoft this week said it's sorry for a string of outages last week that affected its Business Productivity Online Services (BPOS) cloud computing suite, which caused email headaches for customers.

"I'd like to apologize to you, our customers and partners, for the obvious inconveniences these issues caused," Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Online Services David Thompson said in a blog post detailing the BPOS cloud outages. "We know that e-mail is a critical part of your business communication, and my team and I fully recognize our responsibility as your partner and service provider."

OK, Microsoft deserves credit for owning up to the issue, but doing so earlier could probably have diffused at least some of the customer frustration that ensued.

Cisco Reportedly Shopping WebEx , Linksys

Few tears would be shed in the Cisco channel if the company was to sell off Linksys, but WebEx is a different story. Cisco is reportedly looking for a buyer for both Linksys and WebEx, although the company isn't confirming or denying this.

WebEx is a big part of Cisco's collaboration portfolio and a promising sales opportunity for many Cisco solution providers. WebEx is currently available to Cisco Small Business and Express Foundation specialized partners, as well as to partners with Express-UC or Advanced-UC designations. All told, this could affect around 10,000 solution providers, so a decision to sell would have a far reaching impact.

Sony PlayStation Network Hit With Yet Another Security Exploit

Another week, another PlayStation Network security issue. This time, Sony took its PlayStation Network login and password reset pages offline after reports of yet another security exploit targeting user accounts.

According to U.K.-based gaming news blog, the password reset mechanism contains a glitch that fails to properly verify tokens, which could enable a hacker to access PlayStation Network accounts by using just the customer's date of birth and email address.

The big question here is: does anyone even care anymore? The last month or so of security bumbling by Sony has probably put a pretty long term dent in PlayStation Network subscriptions.