5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending Oct. 9

Among this week's list of companies and sectors that had a rough week is Scottrade, a retail brokerage firm that found itself facing litigation over a breach by hackers who accessed client contact information of 4.6 million customers.

Also making the list are LoopPay, which announced it was attacked by Chinese government-affiliated hackers earlier in the year, as well as VMWare, which lost Apple as a key licensing partner, and the PC market as whole, which saw a decline in the third quarter of 2015.

Not all companies in the IT industry had a rough time this past week. For a rundown of companies that made tech-savvy decisions, performed smart long-term strategies or just had good luck, check out this week's 5 Companies That Came To Win roundup.

LoopPay Hack Reveals Security Concerns About Mobile Payment Systems

According to a report in the New York Times, Burlington, Mass.-based LoopPay's corporate network was the target of an attack by a group of government-associated Chinese hackers as early as March.

LoopPay's technology powers Samsung Pay, Samsung's new mobile payment platform that recently launched in the U.S. Samsung responded to CRN's request for comment by saying that the breach did not affect the personal information of people using the payment network, and that the corporate network issue was resolved quickly.

Meanwhile, LoopPay executives, who learned of the attack in August, said they believe attackers broke into the company's corporate network, but not the product system that helps manage payments.

Gartner Forecasts Worldwide Semiconductor Decline In 2015

Market research firm Gartner said on Friday that it is forecasting a 0.8 percent decline in worldwide semiconductor revenue in 2015, the first decline in revenue since 2012.

Gartner research Vice President Andrew Norcross told CRN that a lack of demand from key application areas, such as PCs and smartphones, drove the semiconductor revenue decline. Meanwhile, forecasted DRAM oversupply in 2015 will temper growth for the overall semiconductor market.

However, Norcross said, Gartner is more optimistic for semiconductor growth in 2016: "2016 should see a natural recovery. Finished-good inventory that is affecting the market today will get burnt off over the next few months, and that will result in stronger demand," he told CRN.

Apple Dumps VMWare Licensing Agreement, According To Sources

Sources with knowledge of the matter told CRN that Apple will not renew an expiring enterprise licensing agreement with VMWare for server virtualization and cloud management software.

Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple will instead ramp up deployment of open-source server virtualization alternative KVM, said the sources. Apple's abrupt decision against renewing its VMWare licensing agreement could indicate that the company wasn't satisfied with the terms VMWare offered for the ELA extension, which sources said would have cost around $20 million.

Apple's decision to use open-source KVM could save the company millions of dollars in licensing costs as its scales up its cloud infrastructure in the same manner as cloud computing behemoths like Amazon Web Services, Google and Facebook.

IDC Posts Third-Quarter PC Market Decline

Worldwide PC shipments dropped 10.8 percent year over year in the third quarter of 2015, market research firm IDC revealed Thursday.

Top PC vendors such as Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Apple all faced declines in shipments during the third quarter because of challenging financial conditions and currency devaluation, according to IDC.

That's despite the release of Microsoft's Windows 10 in July, which raised consumer interest in personal computers, and the performance boosters from Intel's Skylake processors. According to IDC, the impact of the OS release was lessened by the short time frame between Windows RTM and the official retail release, which led OEMs to roll out only a limited selection of Windows 10 PCs for launch.

Scottrade Faces Lawsuit Over Security Breach

Retail brokerage firm Scottrade found itself in legal hot water this week in the continuing fallout from last week’s disclosure that it had suffered a breach by hackers who accessed client contact information of 4.6 million customers.

On Wednesday, law firms in St. Louis and Chicago filed a class action law suit against the St. Louis-based company. The suit alleges that Scottrade was negligent in exercising reasonable security precautions.

According to Scottrade, the breach took place in late 2013 or early 2014. The hackers got away with names and addresses, but did not access social security numbers and email addresses of clients, according to Scottrade.