5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending April 8

It was a week of executive and employee departures -- some voluntary, others not so much. Topping this week's roundup of companies that had a rough week is Intel, which surprised its channel partners with an unexpected management shakeup.

Also making the list was Nokia, whose employees face widespread layoffs; Apple, which faces a new government demand that it unlock an iPhone in a criminal case; Adobe Flash, which is getting blocked by Microsoft; and Oculus Rift, which faces another potential nail in the coffin over data privacy 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 Five Companies That Came To Win roundup.

Departure Of Intel Client Computing Executive Shocks Channel

In a surprise move, two top executives departed Intel this week: Kirk Skaugen, senior vice president for Intel's Client Computing Group, and Doug Davis, general manager of the company's Internet of Things Group.

The departures of the two managers were part of a larger management shakeup disclosed Monday. Intel said Skaugen had "decided to leave Intel for his next career opportunity" while Davis is retiring.

Management changes are rarely a good thing for businesses and channel partners told CRN they were especially concerned about Skaugen's departure given that he was known to be a stalwart supporter of the channel. Partners were anxious to know Intel's plans for continuing channel initiatives in the Client Computing Group.

Thousands Of Nokia Employees To Lose Jobs In Cost-Cutting Plan

Nokia will cut as many as 15,000 employee positions worldwide as part of a $1 billion cost-cutting plan revealed this week. The move comes less than three months after Nokia acquired networking giant Alcatel-Lucent for $16.6 billion.

The cutbacks could total more than 14 percent of the combined Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent global workforce of 104,000. Many of the reductions are expected to come in areas with overlapping functions including research and development and sales organizations. But the company is also looking for savings in manufacturing, real estate, services, procurement and supply chain operations.

The telecommunications equipment maker described the workforce reduction as "part of its synergy and transformation program."

Justice Dept. Demands Apple Unlock Phone In New York Case

If Apple thought it was off the hook in the controversy over whether it should help law enforcement agencies unlock its iPhones, it better think again.

Friday the U.S. Justice Department said it still wants to force Apple to help it unlock a convicted drug dealer's phone in a New York case. Earlier in the week, the director of the FBI indicated that the method being used to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino, Calif., attackers would not work on the New York phone or other iPhone models.

Federal prosecutors wrote in a three-sentence filing in the Eastern District of New York on Friday that it "continues to require Apple's assistance in accessing the data" on the phone, according to a Washington Post story.

Adobe's Flash Takes Another Hit With Microsoft Edge Blocking Technology

Microsoft will disable Flash ads by default using technology the software giant is building into upcoming versions of its Edge browser, the company announced Thursday.

The move could mean yet another nail in the coffin of Adobe Flash, which has been steadily losing out to the HTML5 standard for some time.

Microsoft will introduce a switched-on setting in Edge that disables some Flash content, according to a story on The Register website. That means while video in the center of a browser window will still load, other Flash-based ads and animations will not load by default -- users will have to specifically activate Adobe's plug-in, the story said.

Oculus R ift Privacy Practices Under Scrutiny

U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D.-Minn., sent and published a letter to Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe this week asking about the company's privacy policy, given that the Oculus Rift technology can collect data on users' locations, physical movements and interactions with games and services, notes a PC World story.

Last week, a Gizmodo story noted that Oculus Rift's privacy policy allows the company to gather such information and possibly use it for marketing and promotional purposes.

Franken asks whether the Oculus services require the collection of the data and whether the company shares the information with any third parties, sells aggregate user data and what safeguards it takes to protect the information.