5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending Oct. 17

This week's roundup of companies that had a rough week includes layoffs and restructuring at AMD, Carl Icahn, who came under some biting criticism this week, the latest retailer victims of IT security breaches, a social media app that reportedly isn't as anonymous as it claims, and the pending demise of a popular online service in the Twitter universe.

AMD To Lay Off 7 Percent Of Workforce After Mixed Earnings Report

AMD will cut 7 percent of its workforce or more than 700 employees -- most by the end of the year -- under a restructuring plan announced this week. The move will cost the company $57 million in severance and other charges this quarter and $13 million in restructuring costs in 2015.

AMD reported third-quarter financial results Thursday that included a 2 percent decline in revenue year-over-year to $1.43 billion and a 21 percent sales increase from the company's Enterprise, Embedded and Semi-Custom division. But there was a 16 percent sales decline from the chip company's Computing and Graphics division. Net income was down 65 percent from one year ago to $17 million.

The announcement comes one week after CEO Rory Read unexpectedly stepped down and the company named COO Lisa Su as his replacement.

Carl Icahn Criticized As A 'Bad Guy' Who 'Lies'

Activist investor Carl Icahn was the target of blistering comments from Dell CEO Michael Dell, who called Icahn "a bad guy" during an appearance at The Channel Company's Best of Breed Conference in Orlando, Fla., this week. "He lies. He has no ethical boundaries. He will say anything, do anything. I have no time for him," Dell said.

Icahn battled Michael Dell last year during the months-long effort to take Dell, the company, private. Icahn is now pressuring Apple to return some of its cash to shareholders.

Marc Andreessen, founder of Silicon Valley venture capitalist Andreessen Horowitz, echoed Dell's comments in a CNBC interview last week. "He just makes stuff up; he slanders," Andresseen said of Icahn. "His inner 6-year-old comes out. He makes no sense."

Kmart, Dairy Queen Hit With Payment Terminal Malware

Payment terminal malware was central to the latest credit card security breaches at Kmart and Dairy Queen, senior executives at both companies now say.

Memory-scraping malware was found on payment terminals at nearly 400 Dairy Queen franchise locations in 46 states, according to John Gainor, president and CEO of International Dairy Queen Inc. The breach, which used a third-party vendor's compromised account credentials, accessed the systems and exposed customers' names, payment card numbers and expiration dates.

Kmart disclosed that its systems were compromised by a new form of malware that exposed credit and debit card numbers beginning in September through Oct. 9.

Report: Whisper App Not So Anonymous?

Whisper, the social media application that promises users anonymity, is actually tracking the locations of its users -- even those who have opted out of the app's geolocation services, according to a story published by The Guardian. The company that develops Whisper also collects and indefinitely stores some user information in a searchable database, according to the story, and has even shared some data with the U.S. Department of Defense.

Whisper users publish some 2.6 million messages per day. Whisper has denied the story's claims with Whisper Editor-in-Chief Neetzan Zimmerman saying in a Twitter post: "This cannot be overemphasized: Whisper has never nor will ever collect nor store ANY personally identifiable information from its users."

Twitpic To Shut Down After Failing To Find A Buyer

Twitpic, the popular service for integrating photos into Twitter, will cease operations Oct. 25 because the company was unable to find a buyer.

Twitpic had announced its shutdown early last month, but then said the company might be acquired and survive. This week, Twitpic Founder Noah Everett said that while there had been a handful of potential acquirers, they couldn't reach "agreeable terms" and so Twitpic will shut down.

Twitpic has been battling a trademark complaint from Twitter.