5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending June 24

Topping this week's roundup of companies and others that had a rough week is Arista Networks, which lost the latest round in its patent legal battle with Cisco.

Also making the list were MobileIron and Arrow Electronics, which terminated with little explanation their highly touted distribution agreement after just four months; HP, for having to recall thousands of notebook batteries because of a fire hazard; privacy advocates, for a judge's ruling in an FBI computer search and data seizure case; and Microsoft, whose Surface Book laptop might not be selling so well.

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.

Arista Loses Latest Round In Cisco Patent Battle

Arista Networks lost a key battle in its patent infringement fight with Cisco Systems this week as the International Trade Commission ruled that Arista's network switches infringe on three of the five patents in the case.

The ITC is recommending a ban on imports of Arista 7000 Series switches and components that contain the disputed technology, along with a halt to sales, marketing and distribution of the products in the U.S. Those measures are set to take effect in August.

Shares of Arista's stock fell nearly 4 percent, to $71, in after-hours trading the day of the ruling, and closed at $66.65 Friday.

The ITC's ruling will now be reviewed by the U.S. Trade Representative, which can approve or disapprove the commission's findings, according to a Reuters story. Arista, for its part, has said that it redesigned the software in its switches in response to the ITC ruling.

MobileIron And Arrow Exit Distribution Alliance

MobileIron and Arrow Electronics have pulled the plug on a highly touted distribution deal a little more than four months after it was announced -- with little explanation.

Under the agreement revealed in February, Arrow was to distribute MobileIron's entire line of mobile device management products. But this week, a MobileIron executive confirmed that the partnership is off, saying only that two-tier distribution is not a good fit for the company at this time.

With so few details about why this partnership failed so quickly, neither company comes out of this matter looking like a winner.

HP Recalls Notebook Batteries Over Fire Hazard

HP has issued a worldwide voluntary safety recall of notebook computer batteries the vendor said pose potential fire and burn hazards.

The recall involves lithium-ion batteries containing Panasonic cells used in HP notebook computers. The batteries, about 41,000 in total, were used in specific HP, Compaq, HP Envy, HP ProBook, Compaq Presario and HP Pavilion notebooks, according to HP and a posting on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website.

HP said it had received seven reports of the battery packs' overheating, melting or charring, including four reports involving property damage.

The batteries were sold both with the listed notebook computers between March 2013 and August 2015 and as accessories or spares, or provided as replacements through customer support.

Microsoft's Surface Book A Slow Seller?

Data surfaced (pardon the pun) this week that Microsoft's Surface Book laptop computer, unveiled last fall with great fanfare, might not be doing so well in the market.

AdDuplex, an advertising network that compiles data on Windows-based computers, reported this week that among all the Surface devices using Windows 10 that it detected on its network this month, Surface Book computers accounted for only 3.6 percent of the total. Surface Pro 4 tablets, which began shipping in late 2015, already accounted for 30.9 percent of the devices.

The Surface Pro 3 accounted for 33.3 percent of the detected devices and even the original Surface Pro accounted for 6.9 percent. AdDuplex said product availability of the Surface Book could be an issue, "but it looks like it couldn't be just that," the company's online presentation said.

IT Privacy Advocates On Losing End Of Judge's Ruling In PC Search Case

A U.S. District Court judge ruled this week that the FBI did not require a warrant to hack into a U.S. citizen's computer -- a decision that privacy advocates such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation said could allow government agencies to remotely search computers and seize data without warrants.

The ruling stemmed from a worldwide FBI sting operation called Operation Pacifier that targeted child pornography sites. The agency used a hacking tool to break into a site called "Playpen" and collected IP addresses of people who visited the site, according to a story on the Engadget.com site.

Judge Henry Morgan Jr. said the hack did not violate the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure. The EFF, in a statement, called the decision "dangerously flawed" and threatening to everyone's rights. "To say the least, the decision is bad news for privacy," the group said.