Five Companies That Dropped The Ball This Week

Google Roasted Over 'Google Wage' Email

Google back in 2010 said it would gradually phase out its Google Wave social collaboration app. This week, Google sent an e-mail to subscribers informing them that it is shutting down the service entirely on April 30. This announcement would barely have registered if the subject line hadn't been mistakenly titled "Google Wage."

There are theories that Google may have been making a subtle pun, and perhaps that's what happened here. Still, Google probably isn't pleased to see a soon-to-be-defunct product as the subject of snickering on its way out.

RIM Overtaken By Apple In Canada Smartphone Market

In 2011, RIM shipped 2.08 million BlackBerry smartphones in Canada, while Apple shipped 2.85 million units, according to data released this week by IDC and Bloomberg. It has been a rough ride for RIM in recent months, what with declining market share and executive movements, but this data point may be even more painful for the company, which is now slipping on its home turf.

Microsoft Security Exploit Finds Way Into The Wild

A proof-of-concept exploit for Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), which a security researcher developed last May and shared with Microsoft, somehow made its way onto a Chinese Web malware marketplace. Microsoft issued a patch and said the exploit appears to have leaked from an unspecified vendor in its Microsoft Active Protections Program (MAPP), which gives security vendors early access to exploits for the sake of better protection.

It's an embarrassing episode for Microsoft, which has made strides in security in recent years. It also raises questions about the viability of MAPP, which ironically was set up in the interest of improving security response as opposed to undermining it.

Report: Lenovo To Block Third-Party Batteries

Lenovo's upcoming ThinkPad Edge E430 and E530 notebooks will include a technology called "Battery Safeguard," which ensures that only official Lenovo battery packs will work, The Verge reported this week, citing sources.

Lenovo can say it is doing this for safety reasons and no one could rightfully object. However, positioning this DRM-like technology as a feature is definitely something that could incur the wrath of customers because it looks like a money grab.

DOJ Sues AT&T For Not Keeping Scammers Off Deaf Phone Service

The Justice Department this week filed a lawsuit against AT&T on the grounds that the carrier did not do enough to keep international swindlers from abusing a government-mandated service that allows deaf people to make free calls to hearing people via text message over the Web, Reuters reported this week.

The FCC reimburses carriers for the service, to the tune of $1.30 per minute. However, the Justice Department claims that the vast majority of callers using the service were fraudsters in other countries, and that AT&T did not take measures to stop this from happening.

This claim was initially made in a whistleblower lawsuit against AT&T brought by a former call center employee, according to Reuters.