5 Companies That Dropped The Ball

Qualcomm Ridiculed Over Bizarre CES 'Born Mobile' Keynote

Qualcomm, in its first at bat in the lead-off keynote spot at CES, delivered a performance that still has people scratching their heads in confusion -- that is, those people who aren't still rolling around on the floor and laughing at the ridiculousness that took place on stage.

The keynote, themed "Born Mobile," began with a series of overblown archetypical characters -- a vapid, social-media-crazy teenage girl, a video-game-obsessed guy, and a hard-driving, get-out-of-my-way-or-I'll-steamroll-you entrepreneur type -- talking about how using mobile devices makes their lives better.

Then, Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs appeared in a beam of light to deliver the news on his company's SnapDragon processor upgrade. Later, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made a cameo, and so did Big Bird and a bunch of other public figures seemingly chosen at random to help jazz up the proceedings.

Google Decides Not To Sue Microsoft Over Motorola Mobility Patents

Google is pulling out of a patent infringement case against Microsoft involving two patents held by its Motorola Mobility subsidiary, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. Google had little choice, as the Federal Trade Commission, as part of last week's decision not to charge Google with antitrust violations, basically told Google not to wield the Motorola patents against competitors.

Without access to these patents, Google's $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility looks even worse than it did before.

Dell Loses Key M&A Exec To Private Equity Firm

Dave Johnson (pictured), Dell's senior vice president of corporate strategy and one of the driving forces behind its recent acquisition spree, is leaving Dell for a position at private equity firm Blackstone Group.

Johnson joined Dell in 2009 from IBM and oversaw its $3.9 billion acquisition of Perot Systems, which remains the largest in Dell's history.

At least one industry watcher sees Johnson's departure as a serious blow to Dell. "We view [Johnson's] departure as a crucial loss for the company and believe it materially reduces the odds of Dell’s transformation succeeding," Cindy Shaw, managing director and research analyst at Discern, said in a note to clients.

Microsoft Windows 8 Gets Tepid Reaction From CES Attendees

While PC makers impressed CES attendees with shiny new notebooks and tablets, reactions to Windows 8 were decidedly lukewarm, pretty much in line with the generally tepid reception Microsoft's latest OS has received since its launch in October.

"The interface just doesn't seem to work well in a work environment, in my opinion. I just think it's taking away speed of the employees being able to do their jobs," Thomas Lisciandra, an IT manager at Tate Snyder Kimsey, an architectural practice based in Henderson, Nev., told CRN.

Another CES attendee put it more bluntly. "I hate to say this, but the [Windows 8] operating system really does look like a robot threw up on it," Joseph Gonzalez, associate buyer of electronics, computers, and video game systems at Overstock.com, told CRN.

Dropbox Hit With Syncing, Uploading Service Disruption

Web storage site Dropbox's galloping popularity means lots of people notice when the service isn't working the way it should, and that's what happened this week when users ran into glitches and vented their irritation on Twitter.

Dropbox, to its credit, kept users abreast of the situation with regular tweets. "Creating/joining shared folders, and creating shareable links to files, also affected. We appreciate your patience as we resolve this issue," Dropbox's operations team said in a Thursday tweet.