5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending July 24

Topping this week's roundup of companies that had a rough week is Microsoft $7.5 billion write-off for its 2014 acquisition of the Nokia Devices and Services business. Also making the list is Apple's widespread service outages; Cisco's painful decision to close down its troubled Invicta storage business; Unisys' stock price plunge after a weak sales outlook; and the AshleyMadison security breach that has many subscribers on edge.

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.

Microsoft Writes Off $7.5 Billion For Nokia Acquisition

Microsoft's fourth-quarter results had some bright spots, including the 88 percent growth in commercial cloud revenue. But there was no getting around the fact that the software giant recorded a $3.2 billion loss after a $7.5 billion "non-cash impairment charge" -- or write-down -- for the assets Microsoft acquired in April 2014 when it bought the Nokia Devices and Services business for $7.2 billion.

The write-off is a sign that the acquisition just hasn't brought the return that then-CEO Steve Ballmer (pictured) expected when he engineered the deal. Of the 1.3 billion smartphones sold in 2014, only 2.7 percent were Windows phones, down from 3.3 percent in 2013.

The fourth-quarter results also included a $780 million restructuring charge and a $160 million charge for a recently announced integration and reorganization plan.

Apple Grapples With Service Outages

Apple experienced a wave of outages for a number of its services Tuesday, including its App Store, iTunes Store, Apple Music and Apple TV. If that weren't bad enough, the problems came just hours before the company's third-quarter earnings announcement.

Overall, 12 Apple services were impacted by the outage, which began just before 10 a.m. ET and appeared to be resolved by 2 p.m. ET.

Apple, of course, loses sales and money when the services are down. But there's also the embarrassment factor: Apple's Beats 1 radio station, for example, was supposed to announce nominees for the MTV Video Music Awards exclusively just around the time of the outage.

Cisco Shutting Down Its Troubled Invicta Storage Business

Cisco confirmed to CRN Friday that it is shuttering its Invicta storage system business, bringing to an end a troubled product for the company.

Cisco acquired the Invicta business in late 2013 when it bought all-flash storage system vendor Whiptail for $415 million. But, last year, Cisco had to halt shipments of the Invicta Appliance and Scaling System because of what the company described as "quality issues in deployments."

While Cisco said earlier this year that it was resuming shipments of the product line, several solution providers told CRN that they had not seen the products in the market.

Unisys Stock In Free Fall As Losses Mount, Outlook Worsens

Unisys shares plunged Friday after company executives reiterated a weak sales outlook, and costs associated with a $300 million restructuring plan took a toll on earnings.

The company, No. 19 on the CRN Solution Provider 500, saw losses climb to $58.2 million in the second quarter from $12.1 million in the same period last year. The losses included $53 million in the quarter for severance and reorganization costs associated with planned layoffs of more than 1,800 employees.

One bright spot: Revenue in the second quarter rose 4 percent to $765 million. But during an earnings call on Thursday, CEO Peter Altabef warned that sales and earnings in the second half of 2015 would be weaker because of fewer renewal opportunities and less U.S. federal government business compared with last year.

AshleyMadison Site Hacked: 37 Million Members Sweating It Out

AshleyMadison, the website for people seeking extramarital affairs, said its IT systems had been hacked and the personal information of its members -- more than 37 million, according to the site -- had been exposed.

The group that committed the security breach was threatening to post the stolen information, including names, addresses and credit-card transactions, unless AshleyMadison.com and its related site, EstablishedMen.com, were shut down. The group, calling itself The Impact Team, was said to be protesting the sites' practice of charging users a fee to have their information removed.

The sites' owner, Toronto-based Avid Life Media, this week began offering members a free full-delete option, according to a Washington Post story. Can you say, "Closing the barn door after the horses have bolted"?