5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending April 15

Topping this week's roundup of companies that had a rough week is Verizon, as 36,000 communications workers began a strike that could delay installation projects for both the company and for channel partners.

Also making the list were Google for an 18-minute outage of its Compute Engine Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Symantec for the loss of its Americas channel chief, Cisco for the loss of its security channel chief, and Juniper for its preliminary first-quarter earnings report that fell short of Wall Street's expectations.

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.

Verizon Workers Strike, Partners Fear Installation Disruptions

Some 36,000 Verizon workers across the East Coast went on strike this week after the telecom giant failed to reach a new agreement with unionized employees whose contracts expired more than eight months ago.

The strike involves workers in the company's wireline division, including its landline voice and high-speed Internet services, as well as its wireless business unit. The employees serve residential and small-business customers.

That's bad news for Verizon. But it could also cause problems for Verizon partners whose communications technology installation projects, especially for wireless systems, could be delayed.

Google Apologizes, Offers Customers Credits After 18-Minute Cloud Infrastructure Service Outage

Google had to issue mea culpas this week after a system outage that took down its Compute Engine cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service on Monday evening.

The outage, which lasted 18 minutes, affected Google Compute Engine instances and VPN service in all regions. The company said two separate, previously unknown bugs in Google's network configuration management software caused the outage when engineers removed an unused group of Internet addresses used for Compute Engine virtual machines and other services from its network configuration. The bugs prevented the system from accepting the changes or rolling back to the existing configuration.

Google apologized to customers in a blog post and offered service credits for 10 percent of customers' monthly Google Compute Engine charges and 25 percent of their monthly VPN charges.

Symantec Channel Exodus Continues With Departure Of Americas Channel Chief

Symantec confirmed this week that Stephen Thomas, the company's Americas channel chief, left the company to take a top sales executive job with Cyberbit Commercial Solutions, the North American subsidiary of an Israeli company.

Word of Thomas' departure comes as sources tell CRN that other top members of Symantec's channel team have recently headed for the door, including Matt Smith, senior director of global partner sales and business development.

The executive shuffle is happening at a time of significant change for the security vendor, which just completed its split from storage technology vendor Veritas earlier this year. The company has seen multiple departures of other top channel executives in the past six months including Adrian Jones, executive vice president and general manager of global sales and operations; Tom LaRocca, vice president of global channel programs and sales; and Sean Maxwell, vice president of global sales strategy and field enablement.

Cisco's Security Channel Leader For The Americas Departs

Symantec wasn't the only vendor with executive departure woes this week. Faraz Siraj, who was head of the Americas Security Channels at Cisco Systems, left this week to join security startup ThreatQuotient.

Siraj will serve as director of channels at Reston, Va.-based ThreatQuotient.

Cisco has undergone some massive changes in its top executive ranks in the last year since Chuck Robbins replaced John Chambers as CEO last May. Certainly some of that is the result of Robbins putting his own management team in place. But in the competitive security market, Cisco can't afford to lose management talent.

Juniper Stock Price Tumbles As Company Lowers Sales And Earnings Estimates

Juniper Networks had a rough week in the stock market where the company's shares lost more than 8 percent of their value Monday after the company issued lower-than-expected estimates of first-quarter revenue and earnings.

Juniper said the preliminary results for its first quarter ended March 31 included revenue of $1.09 billion to $1.1 billion, well below the $1.15 billion to $1.19 billion in an earlier forecast by the company. Earnings are now expected to be in the range of 35 to 37 cents per share rather than the 42 to 46 cents per share in earlier guidance. Final results will be reported April 28.

The company blamed lower-than-expected enterprise-class sales for the revenue shortfall. That's concerning because the company has put a lot of emphasis this year on growing its enterprise sales against archrival Cisco.