5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending Oct. 7

Dell Technologies tops this week's roundup of companies that had a rough week. The company began layoffs of redundant workers following its acquisition of EMC.

Also making the list is Samsung, following a report that a replacement Galaxy Note 7 caught fire on a commercial aircraft during boarding; Yahoo, which faces the possibility of a $1-billion reduction in the price Verizon will pay to acquire it; The National Security Agency, for being the latest victim of a security leak; and Google, which lost a legal round this week in an age discrimination lawsuit.

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.

Layoffs For Dell-EMC Employees Begin

With its acquisition of EMC complete, Dell Technologies has begun laying off employees in redundant positions from both the Dell and EMC sides of the company, Dell confirmed this week.

Dell's acquisition of EMC resulted in a total employee headcount of 140,000 and layoffs of workers in overlapping jobs were expected.

While Dell did not disclose the scope of the layoffs and types of positions affected, CRN reported they included backend office workers and personnel associated with the vendor's backup and recovery, and storage businesses. There were also reports many of the layoffs were taking place at EMC's Hopkinton, Mass. headquarters. Last month Bloomberg reported that the company expected to cut between 2,000 and 3,000 people.

Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 Problems Continue

Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 problems appear to be getting worse with an incident this week of a replacement Galaxy Note 7 smartphone catching fire and exploding.

Wednesday a Galaxy Note 7 overheated and filled a Southwest Airlines aircraft with smoke while the plane was boarding at a Louisville, Ky. airport, forcing passengers to evacuate. Reuters quoted the family that owned the phone as saying it was a replacement model. A story on The Verge website quoted the phone's owner as saying he had received the replacement device Sept. 21.

Reports of Galaxy Note 7 exploding batteries and fires began surfacing in early September and Samsung began recalling and replacing 2.5 million devices in mid-September. Thousands of replacement devices have since been shipped.

Verizon Pushes For $1 Billion Price Cut For Yahoo Acquisition

It was another bad week for Yahoo. Following a report this week that the company secretly searched incoming emails at the request of U.S. intelligence officials, Verizon is reportedly pushing to cut the price of its pending $4.8 billion acquisition of Yahoo by $1 billion.

All this comes on the heels of Yahoo's admission two weeks ago that more than 500 million user accounts were compromised by a massive security breach.

Reuters reported that, in 2015, Yahoo secretly built a custom software program that scanned subscribers' incoming emails for information at the request of U.S. intelligence officials. The New York Post reported that now that Yahoo is plagued with the hacking and spying incidents, Verizon is pushing for a $1 billion discount in the agreed-upon $4.8 billion acquisition price.

NSA Leak Latest Example Of Insider Threats

The National Security Agency became the latest poster boy for poor IT security this week when the FBI arrested Harold T. Martin III, an NSA contract worker, on charges that he stole government property and removed classified documents.

The FBI is investigating whether the documents that Martin allegedly stole included classified computer code developed to break into the IT systems of foreign adversaries.

The incident marks the second major theft of NSA documents in recent years, the earlier case, of course, being that of Edward Snowden in 2013.

And since Martin was an employee of Booz Allen Hamilton – which also employed Snowden – it's a good bet that the government contractor isn't having a great week either.

Google Age Discrimination Lawsuit Wins Key Round

A U.S. District Court judge this week approved an age discrimination lawsuit brought by a California programmer against Google as a "collective action" – meaning the plaintiff can invite others to join the lawsuit.

The suit, filed in 2015 by Cheryl Fillekes, argues that Google "engaged in a systemic pattern and practice of discriminating against individuals…who are 40 and older" in hiring, compensation and other ways. Fillekes applied for four jobs at the Internet giant during a seven-year period and was rejected, she claims, because of her age.

Google has denied the allegations and sought to have the lawsuit dismissed.

Judge Beth Freeman this week conditionally certified the case, meaning the plaintiff can invite others to join the lawsuit, setting up the possibility of establishing it as a class-action lawsuit.