5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending May 2

This week's roundup of companies that had a rough week includes vulnerabilities in Microsoft's Internet Explorer, slowing sales for tablet manufacturers, AOL's major security breach, sluggish third-quarter sales for Cisco channel partners and an antitrust lawsuit filed against Google concerning mobile search.

Microsoft's Internet Explorer Targeted By Cybercriminals

Microsoft scrambled this week to warn Internet Explorer users that an organized cybercriminal group had launched a wave of zero-day attacks exploiting serious vulnerabilities in the browser -- especially against businesses in the U.S. defense and financial-services industries.

Microsoft said the attack targeted every supported version of the browser and issued a fix for the vulnerability on Thursday. The fix, to the surprise of some, supported Windows XP despite Microsoft's much-publicized ending of Windows XP support last month.

Tablet Computer Makers Hit With Lackluster First-Quarter Sales

Tablet computer vendors got bad news this week: Tablet shipments stalled in the first quarter, dropping 35.7 percent sequentially from last year's fourth quarter and growing a measly 3.9 percent from the same period a year earlier. Apple shipped 3.1 million fewer iPads in the quarter than one year ago.

Growing use of large-screen phones and consumers hanging onto their existing tablets were cited as reasons behind the slowing sales in what was once a red-hot market. IDC said the slower sales, recorded across all operating systems, "likely points to an even more challenging year ahead" for tablet vendors.

AOL Mail Hit With Security Breach

Microsoft wasn't the only company with security woes this week. AOL acknowledged Monday that its email service had been hit with a data security breach that could provide cybercriminals with enough information to craft convincing phishing campaigns. AOL's 24 million account holders were advised to change their passwords.

The breach exposed email addresses, postal addresses, address book contact info, encrypted passwords and encrypted answers to security questions.

Cisco Partners Report Sluggish Third-Quarter Sales

Cisco's partners reported slow sales of the company's products in the vendor's just-completed third quarter, including a "lukewarm" reception from customers to Cisco's software-defined networking products and limited orders for the company's Nexus 9000 switching platform. That's according to the results of a Baird Equity Research survey, released this week, of 81 Cisco resellers with $10 billion in annual Cisco sales.

One-third of those surveyed said third-quarter sales fell short of projections, 41 percent were in line with expectations and 26 percent said sales exceeded expectations. One bright spot: Partners reported strong sales pipelines for the fourth quarter, particularly for Cisco Unified Computing System products.

Google Hit With Antitrust Lawsuit On Mobile Search

Consumer rights law firm Hagens Berman filed a class-action antitrust lawsuit against Google, claiming the company has illegally monopolized the mobile search market in the U.S., Reuters reported Friday.

The suit argues that Google has expanded its monopoly in Internet search, where it has a huge lead over competitors, into the mobile arena by preloading applications like Google Play and YouTube onto Android mobile devices through its Mobile Application Distribution Agreements. Google responds that its search software and other applications can be used separately, according to the Reuters story.