5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ended March 21, 2014

This week's roundup of companies that had a rough week include three who had troubles with employees, including a CEO who didn't grow revenue fast enough, a couple that brought on an investigation of insider trading, and one who caused privacy concerns over suspect emails. Meanwhile, one company was hit by cloud services outages, while another just couldn't make enough money to please analysts.

Symantec Fires CEO Bennett

Symantec on Thursday fired CEO Steve Bennett in the second year of a complete overhaul of the company's product and go-to-market strategy. The firing, announced after the close of the stock market, caused after-market share prices to dive by as much as 10 percent before recovering slightly.
Michael Brown, who joined Symantec with that company's acquisition of Veritas, was appointed interim president and CEO.

Microsoft Catches Secrets Thief, Then Catches Hell Over Privacy

A former Microsoft employee suspected by the company of stealing Windows-related intellectual property in retaliation for a poor performance review was arrested this week.
However, instead of celebrating the successful investigation, Microsoft caused angst among privacy experts after it was disclosed the company found its primary evidence by looking at the former employee's Hotmail account.
Microsoft learned that the IP was sent via a Hotmail email account, and based on the validity of the evidence, reviewed the contents of the former employee's email. While Microsoft's terms of service for its online services gives the company the right to access communications in such circumstances, privacy advocates concerned that Microsoft actually did so.

Google Services Disrupted

Users of certain Google services including the instant messaging tool Hangouts, the spreadsheet app Sheets, and the Google Talk instant messaging service, on Monday experienced outages in those services.
The outages were outlined on the Google apps dashboard.
This is only the latest in a spate of outages by Google, which last month experienced problems with Gmail and Postini.

Two Acer Employees Arrested For Insider Trading

Acer headquarters in Taiwan were searched by prosecutors this week, and two employees of the company were arrested, in the wake of an insider trading scandal that caused a sharp drop in the global computer maker's share prices.

The Wall Street Journal, citing Taiwan's Central News Agency, reported that some fund managers, acting on insider information, allegedly sold shares in Acer before former CEO J.T. Wang and former President Jim Wong abruptly resigned in November.

Oracle Misses Wall Street Expectations, But Not By Much

Oracle on Wednesday reported increased revenue and profit for its fiscal third quarter, but didn't report enough of either to please investors, who caused the company's share prices to plummet in after hours trading by 4 percent. Share prices rallied the next day, but by the end of the week were down by nearly 2 percent.
Oracle reported revenue for the third fiscal quarter, which ended February 28, of $9.3 billion, which was up 6 percent over the revenue reported during the same period a year ago but a bit shy of what Wall Street was expecting.

Oracle reported profit for the quarter of $2.6 billion, or 56 cents per share, up from last year's 52 cents per share on a GAAP basis. Non-GAAP profits were reported at 68 cents per share, 2 cents shy of Wall Street analyst expectations.