Five Companies That Dropped The Ball This Week

Amazon Web Services Goes Dark In Christmas Eve Glitch

In a scenario that can best be described as Grinch-like, Amazon Web Service suffered an outage on Christmas Eve that ended up taking out Netflix during what surely would have been a busy night of online movie delivery.

Netflix pointed the finger at Amazon for the unfortunate turn of events. "We're sorry for the Christmas Eve outage. Terrible timing! Engineers are working on it now. Stay tuned to @Netflixhelps for updates," Netflix tweeted at 4:25 p.m. PST, Dec. 25.

Amazon said the outage was due to an issue with AWS Elastic Load Balancing, according to the New York Times, but AWS has yet to offer a more substantial explanation of what went wrong.

Microsoft Surface Tablet, Windows 8 PC Sales Failing To Impress

Despite garnering some positive reviews since its launch back in October, Microsoft's Surface tablet doesn't appear to be making much headway in the tablet space. In a note to clients, R.W. Baird analyst William Power reported that sales reps at Best Buy and Staples are seeing little interest in Surface.

While it's still early days, Windows 8 PC sales don't appear to be setting the world on fire either. Emmanuel Fromont, president of Acer's Americas unit, told the New York Times that Windows 8 PC sales have fallen short of expectations. "There was not a huge spark in the market," Fromont told the New York Times. "It's a slow start, there's no question."

Instagram Policy Changes Trigger Class-Action Lawsuit

The fallout from Facebook subsidiary Instagram's controversial user-agreement changes continues as a California-based user this week filed a proposal for a class action lawsuit against the company. The proposed suit hinges on alleged breach of contract and other violations, according to Reuters.

Facebook says the lawsuit has no merit and is ready to fight. Meanwhile, the hubbub around Facebook's latest privacy rights kerfuffle suggests that future attempts to monetize user data could prove more difficult than anyone expected.

RIM Shares Plummet After Latest Dose Of Bad News

RIM shares nosedived nearly 23 percent last Friday, as shareholders got freaked out by the possibility that the handset maker would see less revenue in the future from service fees it charges customers and service providers to access its network. RIM did beat third-quarter expectations despite seeing revenue drop 47 percent during the period. And the company says BlackBerry 10 will be the launching pad for its comeback. That prediction may turn out to be accurate, but clearly shareholders are more than a bit skittish these days.

Nokia's Much-Hyped Lumia Smartphones Land In Holiday Bargain Bin

Nokia's Lumia smartphones were supposed to herald Windows Phone's arrival as a bona fide force to be reckoned with in the mobile space. But since the Finnish handset maker hasn't provided any sales figures, we're left to read the tea leaves. According to the Wall Street Journal, though, Nokia Lumia smartphones are being deeply discounted in the U.S., with the 920 selling for $39 through Amazon with an AT&T contract.

For Nokia, still smarting from the embarrassment of its fake Lumia 920 video, this has to be a headache inducing development.