5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending Nov. 1

This week's list of five companies that had a rough week includes a hefty fine paid by a major offshore developer for alleged visa misuse, security worries about Google Android, a service glitch with Microsoft's Azure cloud service, a bad odor around a major manufacturer's laptop computers, and a traffic ticket for a Google Glass user.

Infosys Pays $34 Million Settlement In Visa Case

IT outsourcing giant Infosys this week agreed to pay the U.S. government $34 million to resolve an investigation into the company's alleged abuses of B-1 visas for employees.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Texas investigated Infosys over the alleged abuses of B-1 visas, which allow foreign employees to visit the U.S. and participate in meetings or negotiate contracts, but not actually perform any kind of labor during their stay. Authorities accused the company of using employees on B-1 visas to perform work usually designated for H1-B visa holders.

Bangalore, India-based Infosys, which has numerous offices across the U.S., had denied the allegations and blamed the dispute over "paperwork errors" involving employment eligibility in the U.S. But the company agreed to the settlement to remove uncertainty around prolonged litigation.

Dell Responds To Complaints About Foul-Smelling Laptops

Dell promised this week to replace the palm rest assembly on some of its Latitude 6430u notebooks after some customers complained that the devices smelled like "cat urine."

Complaints have trickled in over the past few weeks about the odor. "The machine is great, but it smells as if it was assembled near a tomcats litter box. It is truly awful," said one posting on a Dell support forum.

After an investigation, Dell concluded the smell was the result of a specific manufacturing process. Dell, which said the odor did not present a health hazard, has already changed the manufacturing process.

Aggressive Ad Networks Gaining Control Of Google Android: Report

Aggressive advertising networks linked to mobile apps on Google Android devices are gaining unfettered access to sensitive user data, location information and browsing habits that many users would consider private, according to a study released this week by Symantec.

The advertisers are connected to Android apps via ad libraries, coded into the underlying application by the software developer who created the app. The more than 65 advertising networks go relatively unchecked and undergo virtually no scrutiny from authorities or Google controls.

Mobile apps connected to the ad libraries are steadily rising and make up a large percentage of mobile malware, Symantec found. The number of mobile apps that can be classified as adware reached over 23 percent in the first half of 2013.

Microsoft Windows Azure Hit With Global Compute Performance Glitch

Microsoft Windows Azure cloud infrastructure-as-a-service ran into compute and management problems this week that prevented users around the world from moving code from Azure's staging environment into production.

The issues began Tuesday evening when Microsoft, in a bulletin to its Azure status dashboard, warned of "partial performance degradation" in its North Central U.S., South Central U.S., North Europe, Southeast Asia, West Europe, East Asia, East U.S. and West U.S. regions. A few hours later, Microsoft said the compute issues had begun to affect Azure's compute service management functions in all of these regions.

The problems were resolved by early Thursday. While the glitch did not directly affect applications running on Azure, the service problems could damage customer confidence in the reliability of the Azure service.

ACA Website Woes Continue

The Affordable Care Act site felt a series of hits this week as officials took the stand to discuss the problems that have plagued the site since its launch Oct 1. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and the administrator of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Marilyn Tavenner testified this week that the website did not have testing until a week before launch and both pointed fingers at contractors for the flop.

Although both officials refused to release enrollment numbers, internal memos revealed that, despite high site traffic that crashed the site, only six people were able to enroll in the first 24 hours of the launch, according to a CBS report. The site was able to enroll 248 people by the end of the second day, CBS reported.

After a troubled month for the site, the government is ramping up efforts with already-contracted QSSI and CGI and bringing in Oracle, Red Hat and Google. It has promised a fully functional site by the end of November.