5 Companies That Had a Rough Week

The Week Ending May 20

Topping this week's roundup of companies that had a rough week is network security intelligence and management company Firemon, which lost three of its top executives in just a couple of weeks.

Also making the list are Microsoft, which is seeing partners question the future of Windows Phone after the company offloaded its feature phone unit for $350 million; EMC and Nexsan, which are embroiled in a legal dispute over who has the right to call their new storage offering "Unity"; and LinkedIn, which said hackers are trying to sell email addresses and passwords from a massive 2012 data breach.

Not everyone in the IT industry had a bad week, though. For a rundown of companies that are having a merrier May, check out this week's Five Companies That Came to Win.

Firemon's CEO, CTO And CISO All Depart

Three of Firemon's top executives have departed the company in recent weeks, the company's chairman of the board confirmed to CRN.

The exit of Jim Lewandowski, who had been CEO only since July, was the most prominent departure. Chairman Gary Fish told CRN, "It was decided he wasn't a fit for the business."

Chief Technology Officer Brandy Peterson -- who joined the company in April 2015 -- and Chief Information Security Officer Mark Carney -- who was promoted into that role in January -- also left the company. Fish said their departures were not unexpected.

The company has already started searching for a new CEO, with both Fish and private equity firm Insight Venture Partners assisting in the process.

Windows Phone Future Murky After Microsoft Sells Some Nokia Business

Partners are unclear about the next steps for Windows Phone after Microsoft revealed plans to sell a portion of its Nokia feature-phone business for $350 million.

Microsoft has struggled for a while with Windows Phone -- a March report by market research firm IDC found that Windows Phone shipments dropped 18 percent in 2015, and an additional 9.3 percent decrease is expected over the next five years.

Microsoft reportedly may by focusing on a Surface Phone launch next year, leaving partners curious as to how the device would fit into the Surface sales ecosystem.

Microsoft said it will continue to develop Windows 10 Mobile, as well as phones from OEM partners like Acer and HP.

Nexsan Sues EMC, Alleging Trademark Infringement With Unity Brand

EMC and Nexsan are embroiled in a legal dispute as to who has the right to use the "Unity" name for newly released storage offerings.

EMC on April 26 sent a letter to Nexsan on April 29 asking the Chatsworth, Calif.-based company to cease using the Unity brand name for its latest storage offering and withdraw its application for a trademark on the Unity name.

Nexsan fired back the following week, filing a lawsuit against EMC asking that the court recognize Nexsan's trademark priority and non-infringement.

Nexsan CEO Robert Fernander told CRN that his company filed a trademark application for Unity and began using the phrase publicly prior to EMC. EMC declined to comment on the dispute.

Hackers Trying to Sell 117 Million Email Addresses and Passwords of LinkedIn Users

It turns out LinkedIn's 2012 data breach is likely much bigger than initially thought, with the company acknowledging that hackers were attempting to sell what they claimed were 117 million email addresses and passwords of LinkedIn users.

The hacker is trying to sell the data on an illegal marketplace for about $2,200, according to Motherboard. LinkedIn said it has invalidated the passwords of the impacted accounts, and will contact those members to reset their passwords.

In 2012, the account information of 6.5 million LinkedIn users was posted to a Russian hacker site. Since then, the company has beefed up its security procedures, including enabling two-step verification, which is considered best practice for sensitive accounts.

Some Microsoft Customers Peeved Over Increase in Windows 10 Ads

Partners say they are receiving complaints from customers over Microsoft's plans to step up promotion of third-party apps in its forthcoming Windows 10 update.

In an update slated to arrive this summer, Microsoft will be increasing the number of promoted apps from five to 10, which Microsoft said will help customers discover and engage with high quality and locally relevant apps.

But partners see the doubling of promoted ads as a continuation of the land grab that began when the company introduced ads in Windows 9, adding that some customers are not reacting well to the forthcoming ads.

Commercial customers can use Group Policy to disable the ads, according to Microsoft.