Five Companies That Dropped The Ball This Week

AT&T Threatens To Cut Off Service To Subscriber Who Successfully Sued It

AT&T and its legal team are threatening to cut customer Matthew Spaccarelli's phone service if he doesn't come to the table for settlement talks in a small claims court case he recently won against the carrier.

Spaccarelli doesn't care about settling the case, in which the court found that AT&T was throttling his wireless data service without cause and awarded him $850. He just wants other AT&T customers to follow his lead and file their own lawsuits against the carrier, but AT&T just wants the whole thing kept quiet.

Ah, the perils and pitfalls of so-called unlimited data plans.

Microsoft's Strict VDI Licensing Terms Causing Angst In Channel

Some Microsoft partners and industry analysts are calling on the company to change its desktop virtualization licensing terms, which include restrictions that make life difficult for cloud service providers.

Last week, Microsoft said that OnLive, a cloud service provider that offers a Windows 7 desktop-as-a-service with Office apps, is violating its licensing terms. But the fact that it took months for Microsoft to issue this statement has puzzled partners and raised concerns about whether the rules have been applied equally across the channel. Given the ascent of tablets in business, this issue is sure to continue percolating.

Former Yahoo Engineer Blasts Company Over Facebook Lawsuit

Former Yahoo engineer Andy Baio penned a scathing editorial this week in which he claimed Yahoo had "weaponized" his patents and described Yahoo's patent infringement lawsuit against Facebook as "nothing short of extortion." Yahoo is accusing Facebook of infringing on 10 of Yahoo's patents covering various technologies for providing advertising and free services over the Internet. Critics are calling it a desperation move, and Baio's opinion piece would seem to back up that line of thinking.

South Korea Watchdog Group Fines Samsung, LG

South Korea's corporate watchdog group this week slapped Samsung, LG and other Korean mobile firms with $40 million in fines for colluding to raise smartphone prices. "Companies took advantage of the complicated price setting practice in the mobile telecommunications sector to trick consumers," an official from Korea's Fair Trade Commission (FTC) told Yonhap News Agency.

Oracle Runs Into Tough Times

Equity research firm Jefferies & Co. this week downgraded Oracle's shares from "buy" to "hold" due to challenges the vendor faces to its Sun hardware and database businesses. Analysts also said sales of Oracle Database Appliance, a channel-friendly product that launched last year, aren't meeting expectations.

"Our concern is that Oracle's business lacks catalysts to accelerate growth given that the engineered systems strategy appears to be losing momentum and that the large software updates and support revenue stream that fuels earnings growth appears to have more headwinds given building competitive threats," Jefferies & Co. analysts said in the report.

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