Five Companies That Dropped The Ball This Week

Judge Rules Against Oracle In HP Itanium Server Case

A California judge ruled that Oracle must abide by the terms of its contract with HP and continue to develop software that runs on HP's high-end Itanium servers. So now the companies are headed for a full-blown jury trial in which HP will seek some $500 million in damages.

"Oracle's obligation to continue to offer its product suite on HP's Itanium-based server platform lasts until such time as HP discontinues the sale of its Itanium-based servers," Judge James Kleinberg, of the Superior Court of California, Santa Clara County, said in his 44-page ruling.

You thought Apple vs. Samsung was a circus? Well, Oracle vs. HP will be even more drama-filled -- though it's unclear if court authorities will have trouble getting the elephants into the courtroom.

Samsung Loses $1 Billion Court Ruling In Apple Patent Case

Samsung, in losing its patent infringement battle with Apple, can still sell its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet, but that's a pretty uninspiring consolation prize. Samsung just got a big old smackdown from Apple, and it will now be forced to go back to the drawing board and come up with smartphone product designs that are less similar to the iPhone.

The moral of this story for other mobile device vendors? Don't mess with Apple.

Amazon Playing Games With Kindle Fire Sales Claims

Amazon says it has sold out of the Kindle Fire tablets but not before amassing a 22 percent share of the U.S. tablet market. But since Amazon does not share sales figures for the Kindle Fire, this claim means nothing -- like when a private company puts out a press release claiming it just had a "record quarter."

Sluggish Ultrabook Sales Putting Intel's Ultrabook Dreams On Hold

Intel has been banging the drum for Ultrabooks for the past year, trumpeting their role in a new age of computing characterized by thinner, lighter form factors and dazzling battery life. But so far, customers just aren't buying into this vision. New research from Barclays, reported by All Things Digital, shows Ultrabooks accounted for a measly 5 percent of the notebook PC market in the second quarter.

Windows 8 may give this figure a boost, and lower prices could help, but it's safe to say Intel expected Ultrabook adoption to be much healthier at this point in time.

Apple Flexes App-Rejection Muscles To Spike Drone Tracking Tool

Apple has repeatedly rejected an app that tracks drone strikes on enemies around the world, and that is raising questions about whether Apple needs to publish a clearly defined policy on objectionable content, as reported by The Atlantic. The app provides existing media accounts of strikes and plots them on a map, according to The Atlantic.

Apple, in explaining its rejections, told the drone app authors the content was "objectionable and crude," but since no one knows where the boundaries of Apple's definition of this lies, there's a ton of gray area. Apple's total control as gatekeeper of the app store is starting to detour into some murky ambiguities.