5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending July 12

Microsoft partners are giving a "thumbs down" to things company executives said, or didn't say, at this week's Worldwide Partner Conference. This week's list of companies that had a rough week also include a vendor that lost the No. 1 spot in the PC market, two vendors who are losing executives -- one to its competitors -- and word of a major security flaw in a leading mobile operating system.

Partners Critical Of Microsoft Exec Speeches At WPC

Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference is generally a time for the vendor to shine in front of its thousands of channel partners. But solution providers are criticizing some of the goings-on at this week's conference in Houston.

CEO Steve Ballmer (pictured) did not address the software giant's Surface tablet channel strategy during his keynote address. Ballmer made no mention of the new Microsoft Devices Program, which was announced last week and has riled partners by limiting Surface reseller authorizations to just 10 large account resellers. Partners say they feel left out of Microsoft's Surface strategy.

And some partners were annoyed when Microsoft COO Kevin Turner urged solution providers to bring customers to Microsoft retail stores where Surface tablets are sold direct.

All this has partners wondering just where they fit into Microsoft's new "services and devices" direction.

HP Loses The No. 1 PC Spot To Lenovo

Lenovo's gain is Hewlett-Packard's loss. After seven years as the worldwide No. 1 PC manufacturer, HP has fallen to No. 2 behind Lenovo, according to second-quarter unit shipment numbers released this week by market researcher IDC.

Lenovo shipped 12.6 million PCs in the quarter, according to IDC, compared to HP's 12.4 million units. Dell, Acer and Asus round out the list of the top five PC vendors.

But the overall news is bad for all PC makers, given that IDC said the worldwide PC market as a whole declined 11.4 percent in the second quarter and every vendor reported sales declines.

VMware Continues To Lose Key Execs To Competitors

VMware chief marketing officer Rick Jackson (pictured) defected to rival Rackspace , where he will hold the same position. The move, disclosed by Rackspace this week, is the latest in a string of executive departures from the virtualization technology company.

Earlier in the week Red Hat, also a VMware competitor, said it hired Scott Musson, senior director of global strategic alliances at VMware, to take over the same duties at Red Hat, only with a vice president title.

VMware has seen a number of executive departures in recent months, including channel chief Scott Aronson, who left earlier this year to become vice president of partner sales at a cloud management startup. Other recent VMware executive departures include Channel Executive Doug Smith; Cloud and Application Services Vice President Jerry Chen, and Application Platform Group Executive Tod Nielsen.

Avaya Loses Key Channel Managers

VMware isn't the only company with personnel issues. This week Avaya confirmed that Worldwide Channel Chief John Spilotis had left to take a top sales job with firewall startup Palo Alto Networks.

Avaya also acknowledged that Tom Mitchell, senior vice president of global sales, is stepping down on Sept. 30, although he hasn't lined up a new job yet. Mitchell is handing over his responsibilities to Pierre-Paul Allard, formerly Avaya's senior vice president of global strategy and development.

Serious Android Flaw Could Turn Mobile Apps Malicious

Is there a ticking time bomb in your Android-based device? This week a security firm discovered a vulnerability in the Android security model that an attacker could use to turn legitimate mobile applications into a dangerous attack platform.

The weakness, identified in the Android security model that validates mobile applications, enables an attacker to bypass the Google Play security mechanism that reviews changes to applications before they are sent to users.

The vulnerability was reported to Google and has been corrected. But the security firm that discovered the flaw, San Francisco-based Bluebox Security, said millions of Android devices remain vulnerable.