5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending Jan. 30

This week's roundup of companies that had a rough week includes Juniper's struggling security business, a key cloud defection from IBM, EMC's decision to cut ties with a leading distributor, Samsung's declining smartphone sales and the embarrassing Google Translate goof.

Juniper Writes Down Security Business, Takes $770 Million 4Q Loss

Juniper Networks this week wrote down the value of its struggling security business by a whopping $850 million in its fourth quarter ended Dec. 31. That came as the company reported that security technology sales in the quarter plunged 38 percent to $96.5 million compared with $157 million one year before.

The write-down led to the company reporting a net loss of $769.6 million for the quarter. That was on quarterly sales of $1.1 billion, down more than 13 percent from $1.27 billion in the year-ago period.

SoftLayer's Crosby Calls It Quits With IBM

There's been no shortage of bad news out of IBM lately, including last week's poor fourth-quarter sales results and reports this week that the company is planning massive layoffs (a report IBM denies).

This week came word that Lance Crosby, who built SoftLayer Technologies into a powerhouse cloud service provider before IBM acquired it in 2013, has resigned from IBM. IBM recently named IBM veteran Robert LeBlanc as senior vice president of cloud, seemingly passing over Crosby for the job.

Crosby is seen as a visionary in positioning, packaging and selling cloud services. Given that IBM is trying to maintain momentum in the highly competitive cloud arena, Crosby's expertise would have been valuable to retain.

Ingram Micro Partners Say EMC Making Big Mistake By Dropping Distributor

The EMC community got a surprise this week when EMC decided to end its storage relationship with distributor Ingram Micro -- just seven months after naming Ingram Micro its distributor of the year.

Starting April 17, solution providers will no longer be able to source storage equipment purchases through the distributor. EMC will maintain its Ingram relationship for its VMware and RSA businesses.

Who's the loser here? The change certainly means less business for Ingram Micro. And while Ingram Micro wouldn't disclose the number of affected channel partners, some solution providers will be inconvenienced. But EMC could be the big loser: Solution providers told CRN the move could be a big mistake. Said one, "When you start to disconnect from your resellers, you start to see your numbers take a hit."

Google Apologizes For Translate's Homophobic Slurs

Google found itself issuing apologies this week after it was discovered that Google Translate, the company's language translation service, was suggesting translations for the word "gay" into a number of offensive words including fag, faggot and poof.

Translations of "gay" from Russian, Spanish, French and Portuguese have resulted in the slurs, according to numerous reports, including in Forbes and The Daily Mail.

The discovery brought protests and calls for the system to be changed. Google quickly issued an apology and began working to fix the problem.

Samsung Reports First Earnings Decline In Three Years

In marked contrast to Apple's gains was this week's report from Samsung Electronics that its net profit in 2014 fell 27 percent to 23.4 trillion South Korean won or about $21.3 billion -- the giant company's first earnings decline in three years, according to a story on the BBC's website.

A steep 21 percent decline in mobile phone sales was to blame for much of the company's flagging profitability. And much of that was due to increased competition from Apple and other manufacturers in the Chinese market.