5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending Feb. 20

This week's roundup of companies that had a rough week includes Zones, which lost a top executive; Box and Carahsoft, which had to pay $4.9 million in a patent lawsuit; Apple, which had to create a MacBook Pro repair program; SIM card maker Gemalto, which reportedly was the victim of a hack; and Lenovo, which was taken to task for authorizing the installation of a browser add-on to its consumer PC line that can be used to eavesdrop on user communications.

Zones Executive Vice President Tom Ducatelli Steps Down

After more than eight years with the solution provider, Zones Executive Vice President of Sales and Business Development Tom Ducatelli has left to pursue other opportunities.

Ducatelli told CRN that he resigned amicably from the solution provider, No. 31 on the CRN 2014 Solution Provider 500 list, at the end of January.

"I can't say enough great things about the company. I've just chosen to look at other organizations to do what I did at Zones, which is to transform the sales organization to more solutions-centric from product-centric," Ducatelli said.

Box, Carahsoft To Pay $5 Million For Patent Infringement

Online storage service provider Box and government systems integrator Carahsoft Technology have to pay software developer OpenText $4.9 million after a federal court jury this week ruled that Box and Carahsoft infringed OpenText patents.

The verdict is the latest round in a case that goes back to June 2013 when OpenText sued Box claiming that the cloud service company had violated a dozen patents, a number that was eventually reduced to three patents. Carahsoft is a channel partner of both Box and OpenText.

Apple's MacBook Pro Repair Program

After vociferous complaints and several lawsuits, Apple unveiled a repair program for what it calls a "small number" of MacBook Pros that exhibit "distorted video, no video, or unexpected system restarts."

The MacBook Pro models affected by the video and restart issues are 15-inch MacBook Pros with Retina displays manufactured from mid-2012 to early 2013, along with 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro models manufactured in 2011.

Apple said the extended program covers affected MacBook Pro models until "February 27, 2016 or three years from its original date of sale, whichever provides longer coverage."

SIM Card Maker Gemalto At Center Of NSA, British Spy Agency Allegations

Gemalto, a Dutch-based maker of SIM cards used in smartphones, is the latest to be hit with claims that it was the target of a National Security Agency hack.

The Intercept reported that the NSA teamed with Britain's electronic spying agency to hack Gemalto to steal codes that allowed both governments to eavesdrop on mobile phone users.

Gemalto said it can’t verify the validity of the report. Gemalto SIM cards are used in the smartphones of the major cellular carriers including AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile.

Lenovo Criticized For Dangerous Adware On Consumer Laptops

Security researchers took Lenovo to task this week for authorizing the installation of a browser add-on to its consumer PC line that is akin to adware and could be used to eavesdrop on user communications.

The Superfish Visual Discovery add-on injects advertising into websites on browsers and works in Google Chrome and Internet Explorer. Researchers said the software could be misused to view encrypted communications, such as bank transactions and Webmail messages.

A Lenovo spokesman told CRN that the add-on did not create any security issues. Nevertheless, Lenovo stopped installing the software last month.