Five Companies That Dropped The Ball This Week

HP WebOS Missing In Gartner Mobile OS Rankings

According to Gartner's Q2 mobile operating system market share report released this week, Android held the top spot with 43.4 percent, followed by Symbian with 22.1 percent, iOS with 18.2 percent and RIM with 11.7 percent.

HP's WebOS didn't make the list, which isn't all that surprising since there aren't that many WebOS devices on the market. But it's getting on toward one-and-a-half years after HP paid $1.2 billion to acquire Palm, and one would think WebOS would have been at least ranked in the same neighborhood in the Gartner survey as Samsung's Bada (1.9 percent) and Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 (1.6 percent).

Acer Founder Says Tablets Are Passing Fad

Acer founder Stan Shih believes that Ultrabooks and tablet PCs are passing fads, according to a somewhat cryptic Digitimes report this week. His comments are confusing, and not only because they come at a time when Acer is trying to drum up interest in the Acer Iconia A500 tablet.

Acer CEO Gianfranco Lanci resigned in March amid disagreements with the board of directors over the role of the tablet in Acer's business. Lanci later acknowledged that his tablet plans involved a level of software and hardware integration that wasn't available in Taiwan, and that Acer's board didn't see things the same way.

At the time of Lanci's departure, chairman J.T. Wang, who became interim CEO in the wake of Lanci’s departure, said the company planned a much more aggressive approach to the burgeoning mobile device market. In April, Acer debuted the A500 tablet and launched a standalone tablet business unit.

OK, so now tablets are a passing fad?

Microsoft Deals With More Mobility-Related Bad News

Microsoft was hit with a fusillade of crummy mobile related news this week. In the three months ended June 30, just 5.8 percent of all smartphone users were carrying devices with a Microsoft mobile OS, including Windows Phone 7 and Windows Mobile, according research unveiled this week from ComScore. That's down from 7.5 percent in the three-month period ended March 31.

According to Gartner's Q2 smartphone OS data, Microsoft came up dead last in vendors listed with 1.6 percent of the market, trailing Android (43.4 percent), Symbian (22.1 percent), iOS ( 18.2 percent), RIM ( 11.7 percent) and Samsung's Bada (1.9 percent).

In addition, Charlie Kindel, a 21-year Microsoft veteran who most recently served as general manager of Microsoft Windows Phone, revealed his intention to leave the company on Sept. 2.

Security Firm Calls Out Facebook For Sub-Par Security

Security vendor Cenzic gave Facebook a public wrist-slap this week when it pointed out security vulnerabilities in the social network's login and passwords mechanisms, and secure connections.

"Facebook estimates that users install 20 million applications every day and the number of these applications that are insecure is astounding. While Facebook's Bug Bounty program is commendable, it does not go far enough," said John Weinschenk, President and CEO for Cenzic, in a statement.

The good news for Facebook is that Cenzic wants to help. The vendor has created LikeSec, a program aimed at helping social networking sites -- and developers that build apps for those sites -- to identify security vulnerabilities. "We want to be sure that developers have the tools necessary to find these holes before hackers," Weinschenk said in the statement.

T-Mobile Ends Data Throttling, Begins Overage Charges

T-Mobile is once again changing its wireless data usage policy, ending its practice of slowing network speeds for customers that hit the 200MB limit in the carrier's entry-level plan. Instead, T-Mobile will charge overage fees for these customers, something it says is necessary "in order to remain competitive in the market."

What's that, you say? A telecommunications carrier opportunistically trying to extract more money from customers? Yes, it is about as surprising as gravity. Customers aren't going to like it, but hey.