Five Companies That Dropped The Ball This Week

Microsoft Gives Preview Of Windows 8, But It's Not Coming This Year

At the D9 conference this week, Microsoft showed off Windows 8, the tablet oriented version of Windows that represents the software giant's attempt to meld mobility and its legacy Windows business into a single OS. Windows 8 has received positive reviews, and it includes many of the same design and user interface attributes of Windows Phone 7.

But the problem with Windows 8 is that it's not launching this year. At least, that's the impression Windows chief Steven Sinofsky gave at D9. He said Windows 8 isn't coming this fall, and didn't offer a more specific time-frame than the two to three year cycle Microsoft has followed in the past. Windows 7 launched in October 2009.

Who knows, maybe Microsoft will launch Windows 8 this January and it will rocket Microsoft back into the tablet conversation. But the longer it takes, the more distance tablet leaders will be able to put between themselves and their incredibly talented yet slow moving competitor.

HP Recalls 162,000 Notebook Batteries After Reports Of Overheating

Hewlett Packard this week said it's recalling about 162,600 lithium ion notebook battery packs after receiving 40 reports in the past year of rechargeable notebook battery packs overheating and rupturing,in some cases injuring customers.

HP has received reports of seven burn injuries, one smoke inhalation injury, and 36 instances of property damage, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said in an advisory issued last week. "The recalled lithium ion batteries can overheat and rupture, posing fire and burn hazards to consumers," according to the advisory.

It's the third consecutive May in which HP has seen fit to recall notebook battery packs. While this probably isn't directly HP's fault, it certainly raises questions about where HP is obtaining the defective battery packs and why the problems are happening with such regularity.

Acer Shares Drop After Accounting, Inventory Issues Surface

Acer shares hit a 13-year low this week after the company acknowledged that an internal audit uncovered inventory and account receivables irregularities that will cost the company $150 million to rectify. Ouch. That's not what Acer needed right now, particularly since it's still dealing with the fallout from ex-CEO Gianfranco Lanci's departure in March.

Acer is also pretty hacked off about Microsoft's efforts to convince chipmakers to limit their Windows 8 tablet partnerships to a single OEM. Chairman and CEO JT Wang this week accused Microsoft and Intel of exerting undue pressure on the industry in order to get its way.

Well, duh! Microsoft and Intel are both miles behind the mobile industry gravy train, of course they're going to do whatever they can to catch up.

Surprise! Sony Hacked Yet Again

This won't come as much of a surprise given the steady drumbeat of recent Sony security issues, but a hacker group called LulzSec this week said it broke into and compromised the personal information -- including passwords, email addresses, home addresses, dates of birth -- of around one million users.

" was owned by a very simple SQL injection, one of the most primitive and common vulnerabilities, as we should all know by now. From a single injection, we accessed EVERYTHING," LulzSec said in a post to its Website.

Sony hasn't confirmed that this actually happened, but it really doesn't matter, as the company’s brand is so synonymous with security problems right now that it's probably going to take years to recover, if it does at all.

AT&T Admits Its Trailing In 4G, Plays Coy On Shared Data Plans

At the D9 conference, AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega acknowledged that AT&T's 4G speeds won't catch up to Verizon's 4G "until 2013 or 2014".

If that weren't enough, he also said AT&T is planning to offer shared data plans, which let customers use multiple devices on a single account, but then declined to offer even a rudimentary time-frame for when these might become available. Hey, what do you know, Verizon started talking about shared data plans recently, too.