5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending Dec. 11

Topping this week's roundup of companies that had a rough week is Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing, who came under criticism from Lenovo's founder in a published report.

Also making the list was EMC's possible plan to pay shareholders a dividend before consummating the Dell deal, Internet root name server managers who have fought off DDOS attacks in recent weeks, Cisco's scrambles to address a Java vulnerability in many of its products, and Yahoo's plans to spinoff its core businesses.

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.

Lenovo Founder Losing Confidence In CEO Yuanqing

Lenovo founder Liu Chuanzhi has dropped none-too-subtle hints that he's losing confidence in Yang Yuanqing (pictured), CEO of the giant Chinese PC and server vendor.

In comments made at a recent Beijing conference of Chinese industry leaders and reported by Seeking Alpha, Liu said he didn't "resolutely support" Yang. "Yang Yuanqing's team needs to go forward, it needs to take more risks," Liu was reported to have said.

Lenovo reported a second-quarter loss of $714 million in November as the company restructures and works to integrate its recent acquisitions of IBM's System x business and the Motorola Mobility business.

Partners, Analysts Cool To Idea Of EMC Dividend

EMC's board is reportedly considering paying anxious shareholders a special dividend before Dell acquires the storage system giant sometime in 2016. But partners and analysts interviewed by CRN said that would be a bad move.

The acquisition deal calls for Dell to pay $33.15 a share for EMC's stock. But the stock's price has been falling and is currently trading around $26 a share. That's made shareholders unhappy and Dell is reportedly considering a special dividend or share buyback program to placate them.

One analyst noted that the combined Dell-EMC would need all the cash it can get. Reduced cash could mean layoffs and a loss of talent needed by the combined companies.

Internet Root Servers Hit With DDOS Attack

Several of the 13 root name servers that form the backbone of the Internet have been hit with massive distributed denial-of-service attacks in recent weeks, according to multiple reports this week.

The first attack occurred back on Nov. 30 and another hit Dec. 1. The attacks peaked at nearly 5 million queries per second, saturating network connections near some DNS root name servers, according to a notice from the Root Server Operators and reported by online sites such as scmagazine.com.

But while that resulted in timeouts for valid queries trying to access the servers, they were not completely disabled by the attacks. The Root Servers Operators said there was no way to trace the source of the attacks as IP source addresses can be easily spoofed.

Cisco Issues Vulnerability Warning In Java Deserialization Affecting Multiple Products

Cisco Systems scrambled to issue security advisories Wednesday and Thursday noting that a vulnerability in the Java deserialization code used by the Apache Common Collections library could allow remote attackers to "execute arbitrary code" on many Cisco products.

Cisco said it is investigating the potential impact of the vulnerability, first discovered by FoxGlove Security, across a broad range of the company's product lines. Those include collaboration products like Cisco WebEx Meetings, routing and switching products such as Cisco IOS Software, unified computing products such as Cisco UCS Manager, and voice and unified communications devices.

Also on the investigation list are voice endpoint clients and client software like Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client, network applications like Cisco ACE, network and content security devices, network management and provisioning tools, wireless products like the Cisco Mobility Services Engine, Cisco Hosted Services including cloud services, and video and telepresence products.

The End Of Yahoo?

Until now, Internet portal company Yahoo had been following a plan to sell its $32 billion stake in Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba. But this week, the company suddenly reversed course, announcing instead that the company would hold onto the Alibaba stock and would spin off its struggling core Internet business instead.

The plan could take a year to carry out and reports said the move essentially puts such assets as Yahoo email, search, the Tumblr social media service and other properties up for sale. That, some observers said, could ultimately lead to the end of Yahoo as we know it.

The decision by Yahoo's board essentially rejects the plans of CEO Marissa Mayer (pictured) to turn around the struggling company, noted a Wall Street Journal story. Mayer did have a stellar week in her personal life, though, overshadowing Yahoo’s woes by giving birth to identical twin girls Thursday.