Five Companies That Dropped The Ball This Week

Microsoft's BPOS Health Dashboard Sends Wrong Signal

Microsoft's cloud based Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) suffered a two hour outage this week, and Microsoft, as it always does, quickly apologized and offered customers credit for the downtime.

But the outage wasn't the main problem -- what angered customers more was the fact that Microsoft's Online Services Health Dashboard, which is designed to show the real time availability status of BPOS, didn't indicate that anything was wrong.

Unsurprisingly, angry BPOS users were left wondering what happened to the BPOS cloud services and the dashboard. What's the point of having an online dashboard if it doesn't reflect what's really going on with the service?

Acer Runs Into Issues With Android 3.1 Update

Android 3.1 has been available as an over-the-air download since around July 5, but some of Acer's mobile device customers haven't been able to get it. This week, and Acer spokesperson explained to CRN that the large size of the Android 3.1 'Honeycomb' update, and the large number of devices that Acer has shipped worldwide, combined to overwhelm Acer's update servers. The update rollout was slowed by a second issue in which some Acer customers' devices weren't recognized by Acer's update server.

OK, not a huge problem, but still a sign of Acer's relative inexperience in the mobile device space. It may end up improving Acer's ability to handle large scale device updates in the future, but right now it's just generating frustration among device owners that are hungry for some Honeycomb.

Nokia's Woes Continue With $692 Million Q2 Loss

Finnish mobile device vendor Nokia continued to struggle this week with fiscal Q2 results that did nothing to soothe investors' fears about the company's ability to claw its way back to a meaningful position in the mobile space. Sales were down seven percent year over year and 11 percent sequentially. Earnings per share were down 45 percent year over year and 54 percent sequentially.

Perhaps Nokia's partnership with Microsoft on Windows Phone 7 will help, but that's starting to look like a Hail Mary pass from a quarterback running for his life.

"The challenges we are facing during our strategic transformation manifested in a greater than expected way in Q2 2011," Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said in a statement.

Sears Deals With Public Fury Over iPad Pricing Glitch

Sears was accused this week of being a big, bad and greedy corporation by thousands of would-be bargain hounds after a pricing glitch on its ecommerce site led folks to believe they were getting an iPad for $69. The problem occurred when GSM On Sale, a third party seller, mislabeled its price for both the 16-GB and 32-GB Wi-Fi versions of the iPad 2, listing the former at $69 and the latter at $179.

This wasn't entirely Sears' fault, but that didn't matter to the hordes of furious iPad-coveters who swarmed Sears' Facebook page and spewed vitriol about corporations being greedy weasels that are unwilling to commit to their posted prices. More than a few raised the specter of legal action against Sears. Apparently, some folks have a lot of free time.

Toshiba Deals With Thrive Tablet Sleep Bug

Toshiba's Thrive tablet has barely had a chance to settle on store shelves, but customers that have bought one are already dealing with a glitch that renders the device unable to wake up after being in sleep mode. This means users have to do a hard reboot, which isn't the most reassuring scenario for owners of a brand new device.

Toshiba says it's ’aggressively working to implement a fix that resolves this issue and will push an update as soon as possible.’ Hey, glitches happen, but when you’re a tablet vendor that's chasing the iPad, every one puts you a little further behind.