5 Companies That Dropped The Ball This Week

CenturyLink Service Fails For 1 Million Customers

As many as 1 million CenturyLink customers in 22 states found themselves without broadband service for several hours Tuesday in an outage the Internet service provider blamed on a problem with its core routers.

With more businesses relying on ISPs such as CenturyLink, outages like the one this week are all the more disruptive. But, unfortunately, they seem to occur with unsettling regularity. Amazon Web Services suffered a 14-hour outage on Christmas Eve that disrupted service for thousands of Netflix customers. And Microsoft's online efforts got a black eye in March when its Hotmail and Outlook.com services went down for nearly 16 hours.

Lawsuit Charges That HP Tried To Kill Autonomy Deal

Let's face it, the controversies surrounding Hewlett-Packard's $11.1 billion acquisition of Autonomy in October 2011 just won't go away. And the decisions leading up to that deal are going to dog the company for a long time.

This week HP was hit with a new class-action shareholder lawsuit that alleges that HP tried to back out of the Autonomy deal just weeks before the acquisition was completed. A similar lawsuit was filed against HP in November.

Last November HP took an $8.8 billion charge against earnings, claiming it overpaid for Autonomy due to what it called "serious accounting improprieties." HP shares lost 12 percent of their value that day, wiping out $3.1 billion in market capitalization.

Partners Say IBM Still Slow On Approving Discounted Deals

Give IBM credit for trying. It's implemented a system to speed up approvals for discounted deals partners negotiate with customers. That, IBM says, has got the average approval down to four hours and 24 hours maximum. But some channel partners say that while things are definitely improving, some approvals can still take days and, according to the experience of one partner, weeks.

In a recent video IBM president and CEO Ginni Rometty sought to instill a sense of urgency among IBM employees and said the company needs to step up the pace when it comes to making decisions and responding to customers. Some channel partners would agree.

CA: Another Poor Quarter, Another Restructuring

CA Technologies this week reported its fifth consecutive quarter of declining revenue (down 3 percent in the first quarter ended March 31). In response the company said it would lay off 1,200 employees, consolidate its development operations and streamline its sales structure.

Michael Gregoire, who took over as CEO at the start of this year, has apparently discovered that the company needs a lot more work to return to a growth path, noted a Technology Business Research report by Jillian Mirandi with the headline, "It will get worse before it gets better."

The good news for partners is that the company continues to invest in the channel. "Growing our partner network is one of our key growth strategies," said channel chief David Bradley in a statement to CRN.

Florida Steals The Show In Identity Theft

Yes, we know, Florida is not a company. But this week we learned that Florida has the highest rate of identity theft than any other state -- 361.3 complaints per 100,000 people. That's according to an Equifax analysis of data about identity theft and fraud-related complaints compiled in a recent Federal Trade Commission report.

Equifax said Florida's dubious distinction could be due to the state's more transient population, the large number of visiting tourists and the high percentage of elderly people in the population.