Five Companies That Dropped The Ball This Week

Big Time BlackBerry Outage

And the hits keep coming for beleaguered BlackBerry. Coming off a second quarter profit plummet if 59 percent, the Canadian smartphone maker suffered its largest BlackBerry outage to date this week. Trouble started Monday in Europe, the Middle East and Africa where e-mail and mobile messaging ceased or was intermittent. From there, it stretched to the U.S. and Canada. All told, the outage persisted for four days and affected millions of users before service started coming back. BlackBerry blamed the outage on a core switch failure in Europe for which the fail over solution also went kaput.

A somber Mike Lazaridis, RIM co-CEO and founder, said that RIM was built with the goal to deliver real-time and reliable communication, but this week it didn't do it; "not even close," he said. The latest black eye for RIM and BlackBerry is especially painful considering chief rival Apple released its latest version of the iPhone -- the market's biggest BlackBerry killer -- this week.

Apple iCloud Is A Dog (So Far)

All of the pomp and circumstance Apple put into pumping up its iCloud play couldn't save the product from the lukewarm reception it received when it officially hit the market this week. iCloud's launch was immediately hobbled by account-upgrade issues and kludgy processes. Apple's cloud storage play, which takes the baton from oft-maligned MobileMe, was found to have trouble reaching its transaction servers to complete the upgrade. And upgrade processes varied by device and operating system. While it's still early, iCloud's inability to upgrade and access servers could be a harbinger for unable to access your data when you need it, which is really the entire point of a cloud service in the first place.

HP Plays PSG Flip-Flop

Come on, HP, make up your mind already. First HP says it may spin off its Personal Systems Group (PSG), the $40 billion HP unit that contains its PC division. The announcement sent shockwaves through the industry, ultimately resulting in the firing of then-CEO Leo Apotheker and the hiring of former eBay head Meg Whitman. Now under Whitman's watch, reports surfaced indicating HP might keep PSG where it is. The Wall Street Journal report indicates that HP has more to gain if PSG stays put and Whitman said a definitive decision will be made by the end of October.

HP is only hurting itself with its on-again off-again relationship with PSG and needs to make a decision already so partners can plan on how to proceed with our without PSG.

Sony's Suffers Another Sneak Attack

Sony suffered another major security breach this week when "a large amount of unauthorized sign-in attempts" occurred on its PlayStation Network, leading to the hijacking a massive number of valid sign-in IDs and passwords. The company said the latest breach, the most recent in a string of high-profile security snafus for Sony, resulted in about 93,000 compromised user accounts. While Sony said credit card data associated with the accounts wasn't at risk and Sony locked the compromised accounts. Sony has said its investigation into the breach and unauthorized activity will continue.

Google+: The Search Giant's 'Pathetic Afterthought'

Google's attempt to take down Facebook with Google+ has so far failed as the burgeoning social networking platform takes flack from all sides, even inside Google itself. In an online diatribe Google software engineer Steve Yegge chided Google's social media attempts, calling Google+ a "pathetic afterthought." Yegge's full rant was republished by SiliconFilter.

Yegge called Google+ a illustration of Google's "complete failure to understand platforms."He called it a "knee-jerk reaction, a study in short-term thinking, predicated on the incorrect notion that Facebook is successful because they built a great product."

Yegge took down the online diatribe, saying it was meant to stay internal. Maybe Yegge had a point. According to a Chitika report, Google+ traffic has submarined about 60 percent since it became publicly available on September 20, a day that saw Google+ traffic jump 1,200 percent before trailing back to where it was when it was still invite only.