5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending Nov. 14

This week's five companies that had a rough week include the sudden departure of Juniper Networks CEO Shaygan Kheradpir, Cisco's second-quarter outlook that disappointed Wall Street, a U.S. Postal Service security breach, a Microsoft Secure Channel crypto bug, and SAP's agreement to pay $359 million to settle an Oracle copyright lawsuit.

Juniper CEO Out In Wake Of Board's Conduct Review

Things just aren't getting any better at Juniper Networks. Monday the company said CEO Shaygan Kheradpir is leaving after a review by Juniper's board into his leadership. The board specifically called into question Kheradpir's conduct "in connection with a particular negotiation with a customer."

Juniper has suffered from an exodus of top managers in the last two years and Kheradpir, who was just hired in January, was expected to right the listing Juniper ship. Under Kheradpir the vendor has been undergoing a tough restructuring effort in order to cut costs. The question is whether the CEO's sudden departure will set back the company's turnaround efforts.

Cisco Shares Fall On Q2 Outlook, CFO To Depart

Juniper rival Cisco didn't have a great week either. While the company reported better-than-expected first quarter earnings on Wednesday, it also issued a forecast for the current (second) fiscal quarter that missed analyst expectations, sending the company's stock tumbling 1.5 percent in after-hours trading.

Cisco also announced that long-time CFO Frank Calderoni is stepping down. While the company didn't give a specific reason why Calderoni is leaving, Cisco is also undergoing a restructuring and the loss of a veteran executive at such a time won't make those efforts any easier.

Postal Service Security Breach Exposes Employee, Customer Data

The U.S. Postal Service disclosed Monday that attackers recently gained access to databases with information about nearly 3 million customers and hundreds of thousands of current and former Postal Service employees. That makes the organization the latest victim in a growing list of retailers and other businesses, including Target and Home Depot, whose IT systems have been hacked.

While the Postal Service said credit card and other payment information was not compromised, employee data, including social security numbers, birth dates and addresses, were accessed. Also compromised was information about customers who accessed a Postal Service line between Jan. 1 and Aug. 16 of this year.

Microsoft, Partners Scramble To Patch Dangerous Cryto Flaw

One of the critical security bulletins Microsoft issued this week really caught the attention of the security industry. Attackers could exploit the weakness in the Secure Channel security component in the Windows SSL crypto implementation to eavesdrop on sensitive network traffic or run malicious code on servers and gain access to other systems.

Because the flaw is in all supported versions of Windows and Windows server, solution providers compared the potential damage from the bug to the havoc caused by the OpenSSL Heartbleed vulnerability earlier this year. The crypto flaw caused headaches for Microsoft, and its partners and customers, this week as they worked to patch the problem.

SAP Pays $359 Million To Settle Oracle Lawsuit

SAP and Oracle reached an agreement this week under which SAP will pay $359 million in damages to settle a years-long copyright infringement lawsuit. Oracle sued SAP back in 2007 charging that employees of SAP's now-defunct TomorrowNow subsidiary had illegally downloaded software and other copyrighted materials from Oracle Web sites.

The settlement is a mixed blessing for SAP. Yes, it ends the lawsuit once and for all. And SAP is getting out of the mess for far less than the $1.3 billion in damages a federal jury said SAP had to pay, before the case bogged down in a series of appeals. But any time a company has to cough up more than $350 million to pay for employees' bad behavior, it's not a good week.