Five Companies That Dropped The Ball This Week

Microsoft Seething After FTC's Google Wrist-Slap

After a 19-month antitrust investigation, the Federal Trade Commission decided not to bring charges against Google over its search business practices, and instead it delivered what amounted to a wrist-slap. Microsoft, which spent untold sums lobbying regulators to lower the boom on Google, could not contain its frustration with the FTC's ruling.

"The FTC's overall resolution of this matter is weak and -- frankly -- unusual," Dave Heiner, Microsoft's vice president and deputy general counsel, said in a blog post.

Heiner also noted that "Google seems to be walking with a new spring in its step" in the wake of the ruling and suggested that things might turn out differently when European regulators render their decision in the case. All of this bluster no doubt triggered much snickering in the hallways of Google's Mountain View, Calif., headquarters.

HP Losing SMB Partners To Rivals As Channel Focus Blurs

HP says it wants to repair channel partnerships that have withered over the course of the company's past few chaos-filled years. Yet, according to partners, HP has changed the name of its Solution Partners Organization (SPO) and cut support for small and medium business-focused partners, and in both cases, has not adequately communicated what the changes would mean for the channel. As a result, Lenovo and Dell are swooping in to court HP's SMB channel partners, partners told CRN. "HP is a huge company that does not understand what it's like to work with them from a perspective of a smaller company," one HP SMB partner said. "That is, and has always been, part of the problem."

HTC Says It Needs To Improve Its Marketing Efforts

HTC had a rough 2012, losing market share as hard-charging rivals Apple and Samsung gained momentum. "Our competitors were too strong and very resourceful, pouring in lots of money into marketing. We haven't done enough on the marketing front," HTC CEO Peter Chou (pictured) told The Wall Street Journal.

But, HTC says it has figured out what it's doing wrong and plans to fix it by stepping up marketing and hiring new staff. That remains to be seen, but the coming year will be a big one for HTC, which is tied with Nokia and RIM with a 5 percent share of the global smartphone market, according to data published last month by research firm IHS iSuppli.

Apple Annoys iPhone Users With 'Do Not Disturb' Bug

When the New Year arrived, iPhone users running iOS 6 were irked when they discovered that the built-in "Do Not Disturb" scheduling feature was not working as it should. Instead of shutting off at the user-appointed time, Do Not Disturb remained on, preventing users from receiving calls and messages until the feature was manually switched off. Apple issued a bulletin saying the bug would automatically fix itself on Jan. 7, but it isn't talking about what went wrong. The bug probably wasn't a big deal to most users, but this is another example of Apple making a mistake and then acting like nothing happened.

Huawei Under Microscope Over Alleged Sales Of HP Gear To Iran

According to recently discovered documents, a Huawei partner in Iran offered to sell HP gear to a mobile operator in that country in order to get around U.S. trade sanctions, Reuters reported. Huawei says it did nothing wrong, but the allegation of shady trade practices comes less than three months after the U.S. House of Representatives' Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence labeled Huawei and ZTE, another Shenzhen, China-based company, as national security threats.