5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending Aug. 1

This week's roundup of companies that had a rough week includes Samsung's indefinite postponement of its Tizen launch, Ciber's latest restructuring plan, Microsoft's legal dilemma about emails in Ireland, a ransomware attack on Android users and Facebook's latest privacy complaint.

Samsung Postpones Tizen-Operated Smartphone Debut

Samsung indefinitely postponed the launch of its open-source Tizen mobile operating system this week as the company struggles to attract enough support from application developers. The delay was seen as a setback to Samsung’s efforts to develop Tizen as an alternative to Android, which powers most Samsung smartphones today, and Apple iOS.

Samsung was expected to begin selling the Tizen-based Samsung Z smartphone in Russia in the third quarter. But instead the company said it would continue to build an application ecosystem around Tizen. The company was expected this month to announce the product at an event in Moscow, but that too was cancelled.

Ciber Plans $24M Restructuring Following Q2 Slowdown

Solution provider Ciber this week said it would undertake a $24 million restructuring -- the company's third in as many years -- to realign the Greenwood Village, Colo.-based company's global organization and operations. Details of the plan, including whether it includes layoffs, were not disclosed.

The latest plan follows the release of the solution provider's second-quarter financial results this week, which included a 3 percent decline in sales year-over-year and a $5.5 million loss. CEO Michael Boustridge said it would likely be mid-2015 before Ciber's financial situation turns around.

Microsoft Ordered To Hand Over Emails On Ireland Server

Microsoft this week found itself caught between a rock and a legal hard place when a U.S. District Court judge in New York ordered the software company to obey a criminal search warrant and turn over a customer's emails stored on a server in Microsoft's Dublin, Ireland, data center. The judge concluded that the data is controlled by Microsoft and so is subject to U.S. laws.

The ruling essentially forces Microsoft to violate European Union privacy laws that protect the emails. Microsoft has argued that U.S. courts cannot seize information held in foreign countries. Microsoft plans to appeal.

Ransomware Attack Hits Thousands Of Android Users

It wasn’t a great week for at least 2,000 Android device users in the U.S. and an unknown number of others in 30 countries when they were hit with a ransomware campaign tied to a network of malicious porn sites.

The attack redirects visitors from the sites to a Web page with an Android program that locks the victim’s screen using the Koler Malware. A phony law enforcement message demands a fine of up to $300 to unlock the device, according to a report issued this week by security software developer Kaspersky Lab. The report said the ransomware campaign appeared to be driven by a Russia-based distribution network.

Facebook Sued By Student Over Privacy Issues

Facebook just can't seem to shake the privacy policy bugaboo. This week an Austrian law student filed suit against Facebook charging the social media giant with "data protection violations." Max Schrems cited what he called a series of privacy violations, including Facebook's alleged participation in the U.S. National Security Agency's PRISM surveillance program.

Perhaps most worrisome to Facebook is that Schrems is seeking class-action status for the suit and is inviting any Facebook user outside the U.S. or Canada to join. While the suit seeks damages of only 500 Euros (about $672) per person, that could quickly add up if many people join.