Five Companies That Dropped The Ball This Week

Dropbox Security Lapse Draws Lawsuit

Adding insult to injury, cloud storage provider Dropbox became the subject of a class-action lawsuit in Northern California this week, after an authentication bug last week left Dropbox user accounts wide open and accessible via any password.

In suit filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, angered Dropbox user Cristina Wong of Los Angeles claimed she didn't hear about Dropbox's snafu and her data's potential exposure until reading about it well after the fact. The suit claims Dropbox was negligent and that the glitch was an invasion of privacy. It also claims that Dropbox violated the California Unfair Competition Law and makes a claim of invasion of privacy and negligence. Dropbox this week, held pat and said that less than 100 users' accounts were accessed during the security lapse and none were accessed maliciously. Those users, however, have been notified.

Google Loses Out In Nortel Patent Auction ... To Apple, Others

Google lost out on its opportunity to scoop up more than 6,000 Nortel Networks patents this week. What's worse? It was shut out by a supergroup consortium comprising Apple, Microsoft, EMC, Research In Motion, Sony and Ericsson, which took the treasure with a $4.5 billion cash bid.

Google was the original lead bidder on the prize, which includes more than 6,000 patents and patent applications covering wireless, 4G, data networking, optical, voice, Internet, service provider, semiconductors and other technologies like Internet search and social networking.

The patent sale marks one of the last major events in Nortel's long decline. The once-mighty networking company filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and later that year began selling off its major business units piece-by-piece.

News Corp Sells MySpace

What do you do with a failing social networking site? Sell it at a discount of several hundred million dollars. That's what News Corp. did this week when it offloaded MySpace to Specific Media, with entertainer Justin Timberlake getting a stake, for a reported $35 million, a paltry sum compared to the $580 million it forked over to buy the site just six years prior. Adding salt to Rupert Murdoch and Co.'s wounds is the fact that it had the choice between buying MySpace and then-underdog Facebook, and opted for the former, missing out on a multi-billion dollar behemoth.

MySpace has faltered in recent years. According to data from research house comScore, MySpace visitor numbers dropped from its 75.9 million peak in December 2008 to less than 35 million in May 2011. Meanwhile, Facebook boasts more than 500 million active users.

HP Wants To Seal Court Documents

HP tried to gain an upper hand in its ongoing legal battle with Oracle over Oracle's plan to halt software development for the Itanium processor by requesting that the court seal the documents in the case. Oracle, however, called HP out, labeling the move as a "publicity stunt in a broader campaign to lay the blame on Oracle for the disruption that will occur when HP's Itanium-based server business inevitably comes to an end." Oracle this week filed a request with the Superior Court of California, for the County of Santa Clara, to ask the court to reject HP's request to seal certain documents related to the lawsuit.

On June 16, HP filed a lawsuit against Oracle claiming that Oracle's plan to end development of software for HP's Itanium-based server line is a breach of contract.

Samsung Tries To Deflect

In a last-ditch effort to save some face, Samsung this week filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission against Apple claiming that Apple is violating five of Samsung's own patents. And if that wasn't enough, Samsung asked the ITC to ban Apple from selling iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches in the U.S. Samsung's ITC counter-strike is the latest volley in its major battle with Apple.

Samsung is already embroiled in various lawsuits in two different countries in which Apple is accusing it of ripping off its device designs. In one, Samsung has counter-sued. Samsung is also in danger of losing Apple as a chip customer. Apple had used Samsung's chip manufacturing business to build the A4 and A5 processors for the iPad and iPad 2, but is reportedly looking to move production away from Samsung to a new manufacturer.