5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

T he Week Ending Jan. 22

Topping this week's roundup of companies that had a rough week is VMware, whose loss of a key executive is the latest evidence of turmoil in its hybrid cloud business.

Also making the list were IBM's continued struggles to return to sales growth, Twitter's significant service outage, Microsoft's problem with Surface Pro power cords overheating, and a security solution provider allegedly caught using scam sales practices.

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 5 Companies That Came To Win roundup.

VMware Loses Hybrid Cloud Exec To Startup

Simone Brunozzi, VMware's hybrid cloud business vice president and chief technologist, has left the virtualization technology company to take a job with a Silicon Valley startup.

Brunozzi's departure comes during a turbulent time for VMware's vCloud Air hybrid cloud efforts, including the company's decision in December to pull out of a proposed hybrid cloud joint venture with EMC's Virtustream.

This week Brunozzi told CRN that he has taken a job as CTO with MosaixSoft, a San Francisco-based cloud computing startup.

IBM Q4: Growth Remains Elusive

IBM reported its fourth-quarter and 2015 financial results this week and it's clear the company has a long road to travel before returning to a growth posture.

Revenue for the quarter was down 8.5 percent to just more than $22 billion while revenue for the full year was down nearly 12 percent to $81.7 billion. The 2015 sales numbers included a 24 percent year-over-year decline in systems hardware sales and a 12 percent drop in Global Business Services revenue.

IBM's mantra is that the company is in transition, focusing on cloud services, big data "cognitive computing," security and other initiatives, all the while trying to shed some of its declining lines of business. While IBM said its cutting-edge technology segments did 26 percent more business in 2015 over the previous year, it's clear the company's turnaround remains a work in progress.

Microsoft Recalls Surface Pro Power Cords After Reports Of Overheating

Product recalls are never a good thing. This week Microsoft issued a voluntary recall of AC power cords for older Surface Pro models after what the company said was a "very small proportion" of customers had reported problems with overheating.

The vendor said the problem could occur when cords are "wound too tightly, twisted or pinched over an extended period of time." The recall includes power cords sold with the original Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2 and Surface Pro 3 – but not the Surface Pro 4, which was released in October. It was unclear at press time just how many power cords might be involved.

Twitter Experiences Worldwide Service Outage

Social media site Twitter experienced outages on a global scale Tuesday that prevented some of its 300 million-plus users from connecting to the social media site for hours. The company blamed a bad software update for the system failure.

The outage began around 3:00 a.m. Eastern. At 1:00 p.m. Eastern the company said an "internal code change" or software update was to blame for the problems, according to a Reuters story, and the company fixed the issue by reversing the update.

With its slumping stock price and stagnant subscriber growth, industry watchers and investors have been wringing their hands a lot about Twitter lately. This week's outage won't help.

Security Service Provider Allegedly Caught Using Scam Sales Tactics

Symantec is severing its relationship with Silurian Tech Support, a registered reseller partner, after the service company allegedly used fake security warnings to sell Symantec's Norton Antivirus software.

The alleged scam was discovered by security software developer Malwarebytes when it detected fake security warnings allegedly sent by Silurian, according to a Malwarebytes posting on its tech support website. The warnings urge consumers to call Silurian, which then tries to sell antivirus software to callers.

Malwarebytes found that Silurian was a registered Symantec reseller and contacted Symantec with its findings. The company is listed as having its offices in Waukesha, Wis.

A senior communications manager at Symantec said that while the vendor "couldn't say conclusively who was behind this particular scam," he confirmed that Symantec is "in the process of terminating our partner agreement with Silurian." He also said Silurian's site has been taken down.

A man answering the Silurian tech support number declined to comment and promised to have a company executive respond to a reporter's inquiry. No one had responded by press time.