Five Companies That Dropped The Ball This Week

Amazon Web Services Goes Down, Company Reports Quarterly Loss

An outage in Amazon Web Services took out several high-profile websites, some for several hours, in the latest incident highlighting the unpredictability of cloud infrastructure.

The outage took down Amazon's Elastic Beanstock services, Management Console for Elastic Beanstock Services, Relational Database Service, ElasticCache, Elastic Compute Cloud and CloudSearch. Reddit, Pinterest and Airbnb were among the customers impacted by the issue.

Meanwhile, Amazon reported a loss of $274 million, or 60 cents a share, in its fiscal third quarter, breaking its streak of 18 consecutive quarters of profit.

Apple Prices iPad Mini at $329, Rankles Existing Customers

The big surprise from Apple's unveiling of its iPad mini was the price tag: Starting at $329, the product is significantly more expensive than the 7-inch tablets it was expected to challenge in the market.

The iPad mini actually sports a 7.9-inch screen, making it only about one-third smaller than the regular model. And with a 1,024 x 768 pixel count, the iPad mini doesn’t feature the same resolution as Apple's Retina Display model.

Meanwhile, Apple also updated its flagship iPad model, adding a new A6 processor. Customers that recently bought the Retina iPad were surprised, and in some cases angry, by the update, which means they will no longer own the latest and greatest tablet Apple has to offer.

Sprint Nextel Loses 423,000 Subscribers In Third Quarter

Sprint Nextel, which just sold off a 70 percent stake to Japanese mobile carrier Softbank, lost some 423,000 customers in its fiscal third quarter as it continues to shut down the Nextel network and ramp up its own for higher data speeds.

Sprint also reported a loss of $767 million, or 26 cents a share, during the quarter, though this was better than Wall Street analysts' forecast of a quarterly loss of 42 cents per share.

Acer Misses Third-Quarter Target, Paints Gloomy Fourth-Quarter Picture

Acer reported fiscal third-quarter profit of $2.3 million, missing its previous estimate of $15.3 million by a country mile due to weaker-than-expected PC sales in the run-up to Microsoft's Windows 8 launch. The picture doesn't look rosy for the fourth quarter either, as Acer lowered its growth forecast for PC shipments from between 5 percent and 10 percent to 5 percent due to uncertainty around Windows 8 uptake. "The experience on [Windows 8] is going to be good, but what we don't know is how soon users can actually experience the products," Acer President Jim Wong said at a press conference, as reported by Marketwatch.

HTC Fourth-Quarter Guidance Illustrates Smartphone Struggles

HTC issued guidance for its upcoming quarter, and the picture is far from pretty. The Taiwanese device maker expects fourth-quarter revenue of $2.1 billion, compared to analysts' estimate of $2.5 billion.

HTC's issues are partly due to Samsung's aggressive expansion in smartphones, and partly due to its being unable to get new products on the market until mid-November, according to a report from Bloomberg.