Five Companies That Dropped The Ball This Week

HP Shareholders Unhappy About Autonomy Acquisition

HP this week extended its deadline for shareholders of Autonomy, a U.K.-based software vendor, to accept HP's $10.3 billion bid last month to acquire the company. But HP shareholders don't appear to be as enamored of the potential deal as HP is. That's according to Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analyst Toni Sacconaghi, who claims that HP shareholders are none too pleased with the current state of affairs at the company.

"The overwhelming majority of large HP shareholders remain opposed to the HP/Autonomy deal," Sacconaghi said in a report this week, as reported by Bloomberg. "Investor exasperation with the company is the highest we have seen in 13 years following the sector."

Sharp Sends Its Galapagos Tablet To The Graveyard

Sharp this week announced that it's discontinuing its 10.8 inch and 5.5 inch Galapagos tablets, apparently due to sluggish sales in Japan, where they've been on sale since last December.

Sharp's 5.5-inch LCD screen tablet was designed for mobile usage scenarios and displayed text like a paperback book, while the ’home’ version featured a 10.8-inch, high-resolution HD LCD and was aimed at users that prefer reading newspapers and magazines in a two-page spread format.

Sprint once had lofty visions for the Galapagos tablet line and planned to sell devices in North America. When it launched Galapagos, Sharp said it was talking with Verizon about a 3G partnership, and the company even raised the prospect of taking on Apple in the digital music and video space.

RIM On The Ropes After Q2 Profit Drops By 59 Percent

Lower than expected smartphone sales, and way lower than expected Playbook sales, added up to a miserable fiscal second quarter for RIM investors -- not that this came as a surprise to this beleaguered group. Wall Street, of course, recoiled from the news in disgust, sending RIM shares down nearly 20 percent in the wake of the earnings call Thursday.

Meanwhile, Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair said this week that the Playbook is headed to the same graveyard (his words) as the HP TouchPad. RIM says it's planning to cut its Playbook pricing, but it'll be tough to for anything to reverse the company's negative momentum right now.

Netflix's Price Hike Not Going Over Well With Customers

Netflix this week cut its third quarter forecast for U.S. subscribers from 25 million to 24 million. The company, which angered customers in July by separating its streaming and DVD subscriptions into two offerings, also saw fit to chop its streaming subscriber forecast from 22 million to 21.8 million, and its DVD-only subscriber forecast from 3 million to 2.2 million.

It's no secret that Hollywood is looking for a bigger cut of Netflix's revenue, and that Netflix's licensing costs are rising. But Netflix butchered the initial announcement of the split, and now there's some evidence that the company may have burned some bridges with customers.

Ballmer Not Happy With Windows Phone 7 Sales

At Microsoft's annual Financial Analyst Meeting, CEO Steve Ballmer acknowledged that Windows Phone 7 sales have fallen short of his expectations. "We haven't sold quite as many probably as I would have hoped we would have sold in the first year," Ballmer told Wall Street analysts at the event.

Despite a largely positive reception to the Metro UI, Windows Phone 7 hasn't yet attracted the attention of the mobile device crazed populace. But Ballmer still thinks that Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 partnership with Nokia could change all that.

"I'm not saying I love where we are, but I'm very optimistic to where I think we can be," Ballmer told analysts. "I think with a little bit more effort, a little bit more energy, the level of enthusiasm from the customer base is high enough we've just got to kick this thing to the next level."