5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending Sept. 25

Topping this week's roundup of companies that had a rough week is Citrix, which has been dogged by rumors that the entire company is up for sale to Dell or private equity firms based on pressure from activist investor Elliott Management Corp.

Also making the list are Cisco, which had hundreds of routers infected with malicious firmware; the first large-scale security breach of Apple's iOS App Store; VMware's top vCloud Air sales and marketing executive resigning; and a FireEye marketing executive jumping ship to Fortinet.

Not everyone in the IT industry had a bad week, though. For a rundown of the companies that enjoyed a more pleasant start to their fall, check out this week's Five Companies That Came to Win.

Citrix On The Auction Block?

Under intense pressure from activist hedge fund Elliott Management Corp., cloud solutions developer Citrix is looking to sell itself as a whole, possibly to Dell, or it will start selling itself in pieces, according to Reuters.

The news agency reported that Citrix is in discussions with both private equity investors, as well as technology firms such as Dell to acquire the company.

Subsequent analysis has poured cold water on this, though, with TBR analyst Geoff Woollacott cautioning that a deal could simply be too expensive for Dell to pull off. Plus Woollacott said senior managers at a Citrix analyst meeting appeared to be focused entirely on divesting from underperforming or tangential product lines.

Cisco Routers Attacked With Malicious Firmware

Nearly 200 IP addresses in more than 30 countries have been attacked by malicious firmware installed on Cisco routers, the networking giant said Monday after teaming up with cybercrime specialist Shadowserver Foundation.

The U.S. has the largest number of infected routers at 65, followed by India with 12, Russia at 11, Poland at 9 and China at 8, according to Shadowserver. The three models of routers known to be infected haven't been sold for "several years," according to Cisco, with hardware support expiring next month.

Mandiant, a subsidiary of FireEye, had reported last week that there were just 14 instances where malicious software had been implanted into Cisco routers.

Dozens Of Apple Apps Infected By Malware

Apple faced the first large-scale security breach of apps in its iOS App Store Sunday, with at least three dozen Chinese-based applications becoming infected with malware after software developers used an unauthorized version of Apple's developer toolkit.

After malicious code was embedded onto these apps, personal device and app information could be uploaded to the malware's command and control server, according to Palo Alto Networks, who stated that hundreds of millions of iOS users could be affected by the breach.

Only five malicious apps had ever been found in the App Store prior to the most recent attack, according to Palo Alto.

Top VMware vCloud Air Exec Resigns

Riccardo Di Blasio, the top sales and marketing executive for VMware's vCloud Air, resigned Thursday.

Di Blasio, who joined the Palo Alto, Calif.-based vendor in January 2013, has been leading efforts to leverage VMware's dominance in private cloud software into a similar position in the public cloud market.

But partners have told CRN that vCloud Air lacks key features and is attracting little interest from customers given the dominance of Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

Bob Scordino, who spent 24 years in sales positions at EMC before becoming senior sales director for VMware's vCloud Air business in May 2014, is taking over for Di Blasio, according to VMware.

FireEye CMO Decamps for Fortinet

Holly Rollo left FireEye after spending just 19 months there as its senior vice president of corporate marketing, jumping to security competitor Fortinet to fill their newly created chief marketing officer position.

Rollo, who has held marketing positions at Cisco, SAP and IBM/Tivoli over the past quarter century, brings with her a history of brand repositioning, marketing organization transformations and helping vendors evolve to new business models. FireEye declined to comment on her departure.

At Fortinet, Rollo will be working to focus messaging more around the C-suite audience, ensure the sales and marketing organizations are built to scale and deliver stellar ROI, and work on building a long-term strategy rather than working quarter to quarter.