Five Companies That Dropped The Ball This Week

VMware Angers Subscribers With vSphere 5 Licensing Change

VMware is changing its licensing terms in vSphere 5 and moving to vRAM, a new allotment that's pegged to the amount of physical RAM that's configured to virtual machines. The change is rankling customers because many will have to pay more for the server infrastructure they've already got in place if they upgrade to the new release.

However, the big issue many customers have is that VMware is positioning the change as something that's being done for their benefit. That may be true down the road once more customers more to cloud computing environments, as vRAM is designed to be pooled throughout a data center in cloud-like fashion. But right now, vSphere licensing just looks like an old fashioned price increase.

Google+ Glitch Serves Heaping Portions Of Spam To Users

Google+ users dealt with the supreme annoyance of unrelenting spam earlier this week after a technical glitch triggered a disk space shortage in Google's new social networking service/Facebook killer. Many of the ads were from Google itself, and that only added to the irritation.

Google eventually the problem and issued an apology "For about 80 minutes we ran out of disk space on the service that keeps track of notifications. Hence our system continued to try sending notifications. Over, and over again. Yikes," said Vic Gundotra, senior vice-president of social for Google, in a blog post.

Verizon Remotely Cripples Hotspot Feature On HTC Thunderbolt

Verizon this week put out an over-the-air update to HTC Thunderbolt customers that disabled the mobile hotspot functionality that's built into the Android based smartphone. Verizon had been offering the mobile hotspot feature for free as part of a promotion, but the feature itself is part of Android, so Verizon is actually crippling functionality here in an undeniably creepy, anti-consumer fashion.

"The promotion for free Mobile Hotspot on the HTC Thunderbolt came to an end with the introduction of the new usage based plans," a Verizon spokeswoman told PC Magazine this week. "Products and services are introduced when all aspects of the business is aligned."

Verizon, of course, is trying to drive people to its $20 monthly mobile hotspot subscription. Some folks will probably pay up. Hey, it's just business, right? But this whole chicanery with crippling features remotely, whether users have been forewarned or not, just doesn't sit right.

Netflix Incurs Subscriber Wrath With Huge Price Hike

Netflix's reputation took a big hit this week when the company announced its intention to split its previously unified DVD-by-mail and streaming subscriptions into separate subscription offerings. Customers that want to keep both will now be paying more than 60 percent more for the privilege.

Customers have been spewing wrath on Netflix's blog all week, and the gist of their angst stems from the fact that Netflix isn't offering any sort of discount or bundle for customers that want the DVD and streaming. Worse, many customers are peeved that Netflix tried to spin the move as somehow being in customers' best interests.

Everyone knows Hollywood is looking for a bigger cut of Netflix's impressive revenue stream, and that Netflix's licensing costs are going to skyrocket as a result. But consensus opinion within Netflix's (now shrinking) customer base is that the company handled this situation in an extremely clumsy, customer-unfriendly way.

Samsung U.S. Loses Key Mobile Executive Omar Khan

Omar Khan, CTO at Samsung Mobile and a key architect of the company's U.S. mobile strategy, left the company this week for a position in Citigroup's mobile solutions business.

While Khan isn't defecting to a competitor, his departure is still a blow for Samsung. Khan has been a prominent Samsung spokesperson at industry events and has helped raise the company's profile in the smartphone space, and more recently, in the tablet space.