Five Companies That Dropped The Ball This Week

HP Out Of Synch With Retail Partners On TouchPad Pre-Orders

HP's channel partners aren't having any problems pre-ordering WebOS TouchPad tablets, but the same couldn’t be said for consumers and businesses that were looking to reserve their TouchPads earlier this week.

Many of HP's online retail partners weren't taking pre-orders for the TouchPad tablet, even though HP was directing prospective TouchPad customers to their Web sites. There were also reports of customers encountering staff in Best Buy stores who, when asked about the TouchPad, would look at them as if they'd recently descended from outer space.

Glitches are commonplace in product launches, and this probably won’t impact TouchPad sales, but it was still a case of HP not being in synch with some of its partners during a major product launch.

Microsoft Clams Up On .NET's In Windows 8, Deals With Another BPOS Outage

Fear and uncertainty is spreading through the Microsoft developer community over the software giant's plans for .NET in Windows 8. Microsoft has said developers will build apps for Windows 8 using HTML5 and Javascript, and it has steadfastly refused to provide any information about the role that Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) and Silverlight will play in the forthcoming release.

Unsurprisingly, developers who've built expertise around these technologies are worried that these skills will become obsolete. In this case, Microsoft's silence on the issue is really freaking developers out.

Meanwhile, Microsoft was also hit this week with another BPOS cloud email outage. Talk about a rough week.

Authentication Bug Opens Security Hole In DropBox Service

Dropbox offered a mea culpa this week for an authentication bug that opened a major security hole in its cloud storage service. The glitch, which lasted four hours, allowed any password to be used to log into any of its 25 million users' accounts. Whoops!

Dropbox was hard on itself, noting that it "should never have happened". Good for Dropbox for stepping up and accepting blame without making excuses. But the rest of the cloud industry cringed at the whole affair, aware that it's another example that will fuel fears of storing data in the cloud.

Oracle Hardware Sales Take Another Trip South

In its Q4 results this week, Oracle said it recorded its first-ever $10 billion fiscal quarter. Eye popping figures like this usually cause a feeding frenzy with investors jumping aboard, but concerns over weak hardware sales actually triggered the opposite reaction on Wall Street.

Nearly 18 months after acquiring Sun Microsystems Oracle is still looking for solid sales growth across its server and storage hardware products. Oracle's Q4 hardware sales dropped 6 percent to $1.16 billion, compared to its March forecast of a 6 percent to 12 percent increase. Hardware sales for all of fiscal 2011 were more than $6.9 billion. It's the second straight quarter in which hardware sales have fallen short of expectations.

Apple iCloud Product Manager Leaves Company

John Herbold, the senior product manager behind Apple's new iCloud service, left the company this week for a position at online health information purveyor HealthTeacher.

Herbold, who also led the development and marketing of Photo Stream and was a senior product manager on Apple's MobileMe team, wasn't an executive and so it's tough to say his departure really hurts Apple. However, the timing is unfortunate, coming so close after iCloud's launch. Just doesn't look right.