Five Companies That Dropped The Ball This Week

Malware Exploits Apple's Slow Response

Apple's credibility took a hit this week when it finally got around to issuing a patch for multiple Java vulnerabilities -- despite knowing about the problem since February.

Security software vendor F-Secure reported Monday that a variant of the Flashback malware, which takes advantage of the well-publicized vulnerabilities, was circulating on the Web. While patches for the exploit were issued for Windows in February, Apple didn't release a patch for the flaws until this week.

While conventional wisdom is that Macs are less vulnerable to attack than Windows PCs, experts often criticize Apple for taking too long to patch Java vulnerabilities.

Hackers Steal 1.5 Million Credit-Card Numbers

Hacker attacks on financial service companies seem to become bigger and bolder every day. But the security world really took notice this week when cyberthieves made off with 1.5 million credit-card numbers after hacking into Global Payments' IT systems.

Atlanta-based Global Payments is the nation's seventh largest processor of credit-card transactions. But that ranking may be in danger after Visa removed the company from its list of transaction processors that comply with its security standards. Global Payments said it was continuing to process credit-, debit- and gift-card transactions.

HP Stock Price Stands Out (And Not In A Good Way)

HP had the dubious distinction of being the only tech vendor among the 35 on CRN's "The Best (And Worst) Tech Stocks Of Q1" list to see its share price drop.

The company had a rocky quarter -- the first full fiscal quarter under the management of new CEO Meg Whitman, who has outlined a slew of cost-cutting moves in an effort to turn the IT giant around.

RIM Faces Patent Suit From NXP Semiconductor

Could things possibly get any worse for Research in Motion? Dutch chip maker NXP Semiconductor sued the BlackBerry device manufacturer this week, claiming that RIM infringed six NXP patents when it developed its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet and BlackBerry Torch and BlackBerry Curve smartphones. The patents in question involve smartphone design and data transmission technologies.

All this comes one week after the company reported fourth-quarter financial results (including a 25 percent plunge in sales) that fell short of expectations and former co-CEO Jim Balsillie resigned from the company's board. RIM has been on a downward slide for some time as it struggles to compete in the smartphone arena against Apple and a wave of Android device vendors.

Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome Lose Ground To Microsoft IE

It wasn't long ago when industry watchers were predicting that Mozilla's Firefox and Google's Chrome browsers would one day end Microsoft Internet Explorer's long dominance of the Web browser arena.

But this week, according to market numbers from Net Application, Google Chrome's once-steady gains in browser-usage appear to have stalled around 19 percent. Firefox, once on a rapid upward trajectory toward owning a quarter of the browser market, has dropped in recent months close to 20 percent.

Microsoft, meanwhile, appears to have arrested its long market-share slide that once threatened to drop it below the 50 percent mark.

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