5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending April 17

This week's roundup of companies that had a rough week include AMD's exit from its high-density server business, Cisco's loss of two key executives, Apple's involvement in a dispute with the LA School District, Microsoft's problematic Windows 10 test release for mobile phones, and Google's latest legal woes in Europe.

AMD Exiting High-Density Server Business As Chipmaker's Losses Mount

Advanced Micro Devices this week said it is abandoning its high-density SeaMicro microserver business in what the company described as part of a strategy "to simplify and sharpen the company's investment focus." The company did not say if it is seeking a buyer for the business.

That news accompanied the chip maker's first-quarter financial results, including a 26 percent year-over-year plunge in sales to $1.03 billion and a $180 million net loss. The company's shares dropped 8 percent in after-hours training.

Exiting the high-density server business might be the right move today. But there's no getting that AMD acquired SeaMicro a little more than three years ago for $334 million, an investment that clearly didn't pay off. As the company's first-quarter results show, AMD has a long way to go in its turnaround efforts.

Cisco Losing Two Key Execs

It wasn't a good week for Cisco in the personnel department as the networking giant lost two top executives, one to a competitive rival.

Early in the week, news broke that Tom Wilburn, Cisco's vice president of global enterprise networking sales, had defected to wireless equipment competitor Aerohive Networks. At Cisco, Wilburn had been in charge of the company's routing, switching and wireless products.

One day later, word leaked out that Five9, a developer of cloud-based call-center applications, had hired away longtime Cisco executive Mike Crane to serve as the company's new executive vice president of services. Crane had been with Cisco for 18 years and, most recently, was the company's vice president of advanced services.

LA School District Demands Apple iPad Refund

Apple has found itself in the middle of a nasty -- and highly public -- dispute over a problematic curriculum in the Los Angeles Unified School District involving a $1.3 billion initiative that included Apple iPads and applications from education software developer Pearson.

According to published reports in the Los Angeles Times and on NPR websites, among others, the program involved providing 650,000 students, plus teachers and administrators, with Apple iPads. But the program ran into problems in 2013 during its rollout, including students having difficulty accessing the Pearson curriculum.

The school district is now threatening to sue Apple and Pearson to recoup potentially millions of dollars. There are also questions about whether Apple and Pearson had an unfair advantage in securing the contract for the program.

Microsoft Pulls Glitchy Windows 10 Preview For Phones

Microsoft's Windows 10 rollout plans hit a speed bump this week when it withdrew its Windows 10 technical preview for phones after complaints the software created problems with Microsoft Lumia 520, 525 and 526 phones -- even causing them to "brick" or freeze up.

The test release, issued last week, includes the new Spartan browser and a number of universal applications. But the company received reports that the software caused some Lumia phones to crash and then freeze up entirely, or brick, when users tried to roll back to Windows 8.1, according to a number of published reports, including on PC World and Windows Central websites.

Google Hit With European Antitrust Suit

The European Union's top antitrust chief this week accused Google of violating European antitrust laws by allegedly abusing its market power to restrict competition. A lawsuit announced by Margrethe Vestager, the E.U.'s competition commissioner, specifically charges Google with favoring its own products in search results over its rivals' services, according to a New York Times story.

While Google has been under fire from European regulators before, this marks the first time antitrust charges have actually been brought against the company, the story said. And if that weren't bad enough, Vestager has opened a formal investigation into the company's Android smartphone software, according to the Times story