Five Companies That Dropped The Ball This Week

Google Incurs Users' Wrath With Major Privacy Policy Changes

Google this week unveiled sweeping changes to its privacy policy that have elicited the type of response from users that's usually associated with whacking a giant beehive with a baseball bat.

In consolidating some 70 different privacy policies covering its products into a single policy, Google is telling folks that it's aiming for "a simpler, more intuitive Google experience" -- one that involves sharing user data across all its services.

Online privacy advocates are fuming over the changes, however, with some claiming that Google's "don't be evil" mantra is starting to acquire an unmistakable tinge of hypocrisy.


AMD Reports $177 Million Loss In Fourth Quarter

AMD reported a $177 million loss in its fiscal fourth quarter due to several one-time charges, including investments in its partner and spin-off foundry business Globalfoundries.

While AMD’s Computing Solutions segment revenue grew 2 percent sequentially and 7 percent year-over-year, AMD's outlook for the first quarter of 2012 is far from rosy. The company expects revenue to drop 8 percent, plus or minus 3 percent, during the first quarter.

Nokia Reports Q4 Loss; Smartphone Sales Plummet

Nokia reported a $1.4 billion loss during its fiscal fourth quarter, along with a 31 percent drop in smartphone sales and a 21 percent drop in revenue. Despite an enthusiastic initial market response to its Lumia smartphone, Nokia's outlook for the coming year remains uncertain, and the company did not offer 2012 guidance.

New RIM CEO Heins Says No Big Changes Needed

RIM this week named Thorsten Heins, the company's former co-COO, as its new president and CEO. The move to new leadership was long overdue, as investors have for the past several months been clamoring for ex-co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis to step down from their roles.

However, in his first conference call as CEO, Heins alarmed Wall Street analysts by essentially declaring that he plans on maintaining the status quo at RIM. "I don’t think that there is some drastic change needed. We are evolving, we are evolving our strategy, we our evolving our tactics, our processes," he said on the call.

The red flag here is that Heins will carry forth the same strategy that led RIM into its currently bubbling pot of hot water.

Juniper Sees Continued Sluggishness After Q4 Shortfall

In its fiscal fourth quarter, Juniper reported revenue of $1.12 billion and earnings of 28 cents per share. While the results were just a tad lower than Wall Street's expectations, Juniper projected first-quarter revenue of $960 million to $990 billion, well below analysts' projections of $1.1 billion.

"The near-term environment remains challenging," Juniper CEO Kevin Johnson said on the company's earnings call.

Juniper earlier this month warned Wall Street that its fourth-quarter revenue would be lower than expected due to weaker-than-expected demand from the service provider market, from which it draws around two-thirds of its revenue.