5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending March 13

This week's roundup of companies that had a rough week includes a significant restructuring and layoffs at a leading solution provider, Intel's rollback in its Q1 revenue forecast, Apple's global iTunes and App Store outage, Hewlett-Packard's setback in its patent-infringement lawsuit against ServiceNow, and the latest Google service to get the ax.

Systemax Restructures, Closes Retail Business, Initiates Layoffs

Systemax recorded another multimillion-dollar quarterly loss this week and announced a significant restructuring that includes shuttering most of its retail business, laying off employees and taking other cost-cutting steps.

The Port Washington, N.Y.-based company said many of the 1,500 layoffs (out of a total workforce of 4,000 in North America) would come from closing 31 of the company's 34 retail stores. But the restructuring also includes operational cuts across the company, including consolidations within its headquarters.

The moves are all part of a strategic decision to focus on Systemax's business-to-business operations.

Intel Slashes Q1 Forecast By $1 Billion

Blaming slow desktop PC sales, Intel this week cut its projected revenue for the current quarter by nearly $1 billion, a move that sent the chipmaker's stock tumbling nearly 5 percent Thursday.

In January Intel said it expected revenue for the quarter to reach $13.7 billion. But this week the company reduced that forecast to $12.8 billion, blaming weaker-than-expected sales of PCs and laptop computers -- due, in part, to slow demand for upgrades from aging Windows XP-based computers.

Don't look for a quick turnaround. Last month IDC reduced its forecast for worldwide PC sales for all of 2015, now saying PC sales will decline 4.9 percent, to $187.1 billion.

Apple iTunes And App Store Suffer Global Outage

Apple customers around the world were frustrated when the company's popular iTunes and online App Store were down for some 12 hours Wednesday. The global disruption was caused by an internal DNS (domain name system) error within the company's IT system. Also down were Apple's Mac App Store and iBooks Store.

The problems started around 5 a.m. EDT, according to the company, and the online services were not fully restored until shortly after 5 p.m. EDT. A USA Today story said the digital stores collectively generate about $50 million in sales every day.

Judge Invalidates HP Patents In Lawsuit Against ServiceNow

Hewlett-Packard suffered a setback this week in its patent-infringement lawsuit against ServiceNow when a federal judge in California invalidated four of HP's patents in the case, ruling that the patents are too abstract for legal protection, according to a Reuters story.

Last year, HP sued ServiceNow claiming that the Santa Clara, Calif.-based provider of cloud-based IT management software had infringed eight patents HP holds on software technology relating to network management.

The judge's ruling cites a U.S. Supreme Court decision last year that highly abstract ideas are not eligible for patent protection. HP has vowed to continue with its lawsuit with the four remaining patents, Reuters said.

Google To Shutter Google Code Service

Google is closing down Google Code, the company's open-source software project hosting service, because developers apparently prefer such alternatives as GitHub and Bitbucket. The service joins a growing list of Google projects that have recently been shut down.

Google Code is the company's site for development tools, APIs and other technology resources. But in a blog posting Thursday, Chris DiBona, Google director of open source, said Google would discontinue the service because "it has become clear to us that the service simply isn't needed anymore."

Google will no longer accept new projects at the site as of Aug. 24, and the site is expected to shut down for good Jan. 25, 2016.