5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending Jan. 23

This week's roundup of companies that had a rough week includes IBM's poor fourth-quarter financial results, Microsoft's lack of communication with partners surrounding its Windows 10 free upgrade plans, yet another Adobe Flash security vulnerability, questions about the Apple Watch's battery life and Sony's latest headache following last year's massive security hack.

IBM Disappoints With 4Q Sales, 2015 Outlook

IBM reported its fourth-quarter and year-end financial results this week, and the news wasn't pretty.

Sales for the quarter were down almost 12 percent to $24.1 billion, while sales for the year dropped nearly 6 percent to $92.8 billion. Net income for the quarter was down more than 11 percent to $5.5 billion, while net income for all of 2014 was off more than 27 percent to $12.0 billion.

And while the company is undertaking a restructuring to turn things around, the prognosis for 2015 wasn't much better. IBM is forecasting earnings between $15.75 and $16.50 a share, below the $16.51 a share analysts had expected. That caused the company's stock to plunge more than 4 percent in after-hours trading.

Partners Decry Lack Of Notification On Windows 10 Upgrade

Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system is generally winning applause, but it looks like Microsoft dropped the ball when it came to informing partners about the vendor's plans to offer free Windows 10 upgrades for existing customers.

Microsoft disclosed the free upgrade plans Wednesday during the Windows 10 launch. That left some Microsoft partners expressing frustration that they weren't notified in advance of the announcement, given that many will be implementing the new OS. Free acquisition costs for customers can mean lost revenue for solution providers, several partners told CRN.

Adobe Scrambles To Address Flash Player Vulnerability

Adobe this week issued an emergency update for its Flash Player after widespread attacks took advantage of a zero-day vulnerability in older versions of the software. The emergency update, issued Thursday, affected users of Flash Player on Windows, Macintosh and Linux computers.

The attacks were carried out using the Angler exploit toolkit. Adobe also warned that it is still investigating reports of another zero-day vulnerability.

Report: Apple Watch Battery Life Might Disappoint

Apple is expected to begin shipping its much-anticipated Apple Watch in March. But a report out this week said the company might not be able to meet its goal of offering a product that can run an entire day on a single battery charge.

The 9to5mac.com website has posted an analysis that notes Apple is using a relatively powerful processor and high-quality screen for the product -- both of which will consume a lot of power. While the actual battery life will hinge on the amount of active use of the watch throughout a day versus passive use, the report suggests that Apple might be challenged to meet its goal of once-a-day charging for the device.

Sony Seeks 3Q Financial Report Delay Following Security Breach

The fallout from the massive security breach of Sony's IT systems continues. This week, the company said it is delaying the official release of its third-quarter financial results because of the cyberattack that debilitated network systems at its Hollywood studio, according to a CNBC report.

The results were scheduled to be announced Feb. 4. While Sony Pictures still will hold a press conference that day to update financial forecasts, most of its financial and accounting applications won't be running again until early February, and the company has asked financial regulators to extend the deadline for filing the quarterly report to March 31, CNBC said.