5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending June 26

This week's roundup of companies that had a rough week includes EMC's loss of its top marketing executive to a flash storage rival, VMware's loss of a key NSX engineer, the plunge in distributor Synnex's stock price after a Q2 sales decline, Samsung's reported disabling of Microsoft security updates, and a new IBM-Box alliance that doesn't provide any clear role for the companies' channel partners.

Not everyone in the IT industry was having a rough go of it this week. For a rundown of companies that made smart decisions, executed savvy strategic moves -- or just had good luck -- check out this week's Five Companies That Came To Win roundup.

EMC Loses Top Marketing Exec To Flash Storage Rival

All-flash storage array vendor Pure Storage has stolen away EMC's chief marketing officer, hiring away the top executive to become Pure's own CMO.

This week Pure confirmed that it hired Jonathan Martin, a four-year EMC veteran and the storage giant's top marketing executive since March 2014. Martin will officially take over as Pure Storage's CMO in July.

EMC is battling numerous startup/upstart storage system vendors, especially in new technology areas like all-flash storage. That job gets even tougher when the competition is hiring away your top executive talent.

Synnex Shares Tumble On Q2 Sales Decline

Not a good week for Synnex stockholders. The distributor's shares plunged nearly 10 percent Thursday after the company reported that sales in its second fiscal quarter declined 2.6 percent year over year, to $3.25 billion, after accounting for foreign currency fluctuations. That was well below Wall Street's expectations of $3.42 billion in sales.

To be fair, the financial showing resulted from a calculated decision by Synnex to walk away from several low-margin deals that CEO Kevin Murai said were "below [the company's] profitability threshold." And the company's net income for the quarter was up 31 percent, to $51.9 million.

The week was a reminder, though, of how just unforgiving Wall Street can be.

VMware NSX Engineer Jumps To Amazon Web Services

EMC wasn't the only vendor losing a key employee this week. Brad Hedlund, a well-known VMware sales engineer and vocal supporter of the vendor's NSX software-defined networking technology, has left to join public cloud company Amazon Web Services, it was learned this week.

Hedlund joined the AWS technical staff in the company's new Chicago field office where Seattle-based Amazon is mounting a major expansion. His hiring could be part of AWS' push to attract more traditional enterprise-focused solution providers who work with companies like VMware and Cisco.

AWS' gain is VMware's loss.

Samsung Accused Of Disabling Microsoft Security Update

Samsung came under fire this week when a researcher said the vendor had been disabling Microsoft's Windows Update on Samsung desktop and notebook computers in a move that left customers vulnerable to malware attacks.

The problem was discovered by Patrick Barker, a crash-debugging and reverse-engineering expert, according to a BBC story. Baker reported finding in Samsung's own software update package an application called Disable_Windowsupdate.exe that blocked Windowsupdate.exe from doing its job.

The BBC story said Samsung defended the practice by saying it wasn't blocking updates, simply giving users the choice as to if and when to update their Windows software. Microsoft was aware of the problem, according to the story, and was in contact with Samsung about it.

Channel Partners Left Out Of IBM-Box Alliance

IBM and cloud storage service provider Box unveiled a partnership this week under which the two will develop integrated cloud solutions and file-collaboration tools. But neither company had any clear plan to involve its channel in selling those new products.

Representatives of both company's said the go-to-market strategy for the alliance remained a work in progress and that the partnership should eventually create opportunities for solution providers.