5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending August 7

For the first week of August, the heat was turned up in the IT world for several firms (plus a branch of the federal government and a presidential contender) that had a rough week, thanks to hackers, wireless service outages and tight quarterly margins. Hillary Clinton, Systemax and Microsoft each make the cut this week.

Also making the list is a bevy of wireless carriers hit with a service outage that left thousands of customers unable to make calls or download the latest version of Angry Birds for hours. To add a bit more misery to this list, the Pentagon reported some of its staff were targets of a ’sophisticated cyberattack.’

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.

Hillary Clinton Servergate

It’s never good when the FBI is calling you asking questions. That what happened to solution provider Platte River Networks, when the Feds came knocking asking questions related to its ongoing investigation into Hilary Clinton's private email system.

According to an article in The Washington Post, the 30-person, Denver-based solution provider was hired by the Clintons in 2013 to provide better security, durability and a more professional setup.

The email system installed at the Clintons' Chappaqua, N.Y., home had previously been plagued by outages, the Post indicated, with the system crashing for days after the destruction of Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. (Platte River declined to comment.)

AT&T, T-Mobile And Verizon Wireless Suffer Outages

Leading wireless carriers each had to eat crow this week, dealing with the ire of thousands of wireless and landline customers who were affected by a service outage that lasted for about five hours Tuesday evening.

AT&T, Verizon Wireless, U.S. Cellular, Cricket and T-Mobile wireless and landline customers that lived in parts of Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee and Indiana were impacted.

When service providers were asked how these outages can be prevented, they chimed in, saying end users need to diversify their sources for phone service and Internet access to guard against outages like these in the future.

Systemax Q2 Sales Tumble

Margin pressure and massive retail store closures took a toll on Systemax's North American technology business as sales continued to fall in the second quarter, the company reported Tuesday.

Revenue for the Port Washington, N.Y.-based company declined 4.5 percent, from $769.1 million a year ago to $734.7 million today, excluding the impact of currency fluctuations, acquisitions and the closed retail stores.

Systemax announced in March that the company planned to close a distribution center and 31 of the company's 34 retail stores, with the cuts affecting 1,500 of the company's 4,000 employees in North America.

"The transition will take time, add substantial disruption to our business … and may negatively impact our results," Richard Leeds, Systemax chairman and CEO, said during Tuesday’s earnings call.

Russia Hacks Pentagon Computers

U.S. officials confirmed this week that the Pentagon was hit by a spearphishing cyberattack last month, most likely from Russian hackers, which compromised an unclassified email system.

The attack compromised the information of around 4,000 military and civilian personnel who work for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a U.S. official confirmed to NBC News. Officials said no classified information was taken, but didn't specify in the report how much or what kind of nonclassified information was involved.

Need more reasons to change passwords on your online accounts? Check out CRN’s reporting from the Black Hat security conference that took place this week starting with Black Hat 2015: 10 Security Threats To Watch.

For Microsoft, Server 2003 Migrations May Be Slower Than Hoped

CDW CEO Thomas Richards downplayed the significance of the opportunity surrounding Windows Server 2003 during the company earnings call on Monday morning, saying "it hasn't been such a big driver" of business.

Despite the lack of opportunity Richards said CDW saw around Server 2003 end of support, the $12 billion solution provider saw double-digit growth in its server business, and an 8 percent growth in its hardware segment.

"The impact of Win Server 2003 is kind of a mild breeze at our back, so to speak," Richards said during the Q&A portion of the call.