5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending Sept. 30

Topping this week's roundup of companies that had a rough week was Cognizant, which launched an internal investigation of possible violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Also making the list were HP Inc. for a printer firmware update that blocked some third-party ink cartridges, Microsoft's loss of a key development executive, Oracle's loss of a court decision in its long-running copyright lawsuit against Google, and Yahoo – which might face some bumps in its deal to be acquired by Verizon following Yahoo's massive security breach.

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.

Cognizant President Resigns, Company Investigates Possible Improper Payments In India

Systems integrator Cognizant disclosed this week that it is conducting an investigation into whether it violated the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The company said the probe concerns whether certain payments relating to company-owned facilities in India were made improperly and in possible violation of the FCPA or other laws.

Cognizant disclosed the investigation in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Friday. The news sent Cognizant's stock tumbling by more than 16 percent.

Cognizant also said that president Gordon Coburn (pictured) resigned after four years as president and two decades with the company – many as CFO. It could not be determined whether Coburn's departure was in any way related to the internal investigation. Cognizant named Raj Mehta, CEO of the company's IT services division, to replace Coburn.

HP Takes Heat For Printer Firmware That Blocks Third-Party Ink Cartridges

HP Inc. found itself caught in a kerfuffle this week when a firmware update issued for some HP inkjet printers rejected some ink cartridges supplied by other manufacturers, causing the printers to stop working. That brought complaints from some consumers and a letter from the Electronic Frontier Foundation to HP CEO Dion Weisler, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In a statement, HP said the update's cartridge authentication procedure was intended "to ensure the best consumer experience" and protect customers from counterfeit and third-party ink cartridges that lack an HP security chip.

HP said the update prevented some untested third-party cartridges from working. HP apologized, saying it "should have done a better job of communicating about the authentication procedure to customers." The company promised to issue an optional firmware update to remove the dynamic security feature.

Several HP channel partners said the dustup overlooked the point that some unauthorized printer cartridges can damage HP printers.

Microsoft Applications And Services Exec Steps Down For Reported Recuperation

Microsoft is losing one of its top development executives, who stepped down this week to recuperate from injuries reportedly suffered in a serious bicycle accident several months ago.

Qi Lu (pictured), the executive in charge of Microsoft's Applications and Services Group, was a key member of CEO Satya Nadella's management team. He had been with the company since 2008 and was responsible for development of Microsoft Office and Office 365, the Bing search engine and other products.

Oracle Loses Latest Court Bid To Continue Copyright Lawsuit Against Google

A San Francisco district court judge this week denied Oracle's bid for a retrial of its long-running lawsuit against Google, charging that Google's Android mobile operating system violates Oracle's Java API copyrights.

The dispute goes back to 2010 and Oracle has sought as much as $9 billion in damages. While a jury trial in 2012 resulted in a mixed decision for the two companies, a second trial in the case in May of this year resulted in a jury verdict that Google did not infringe Oracle-owned copyrights and Google's re-implementation of the Java APIs constituted "fair use."

Oracle sought to have the case heard yet again, but this week Judge William Alsup denied that motion, according to The Register.

Verizon Remains Mum On Yahoo Acquisition Following Massive Hack

Yahoo might be feeling a little uncomfortable right now about its deal to be acquired by telecommunications giant Verizon for $4.83 billion. Verizon has remained largely silent since last week's news that more than 500 million Yahoo accounts were compromised in a massive security breach.

Verizon and Yahoo struck the acquisition deal back in July, but it's unclear just how much Verizon knew about the scope of the security breach at the time. Last week, Verizon said it had only "limited information and understanding" of the security breach's impact.

There has been speculation over the incident's possible impact on the acquisition plans. Partners told CRN that it might give Verizon a bargaining chip to renegotiate the acquisition price.