5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending Oct. 28

Topping this week's roundup of companies that had a rough week was Apple, which suffered its first decline in annual revenue in 15 years.

Also making the list were Hangzhou Xiongmai, a Chinese manufacturer that issued a recall of its webcams and other devices that were exploited in last week's massive distributed denial of service attack; Symantec, for undertaking yet another reorganization of its channel operations; Google, which is halting Google Fiber deployments and cutting staff; and Twitter, which is also laying off staff and shuttering its Vine Video service.

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.

Apple Reports First Annual Revenue Decline In 15 Years

Apple, in the Tim Cook era, has been summed up as "innovation down, sales and profits up." But this week, Apple reported fiscal 2016 sales and profits that were also down – the company's first year-over-year sales decline since 2001.

For the fiscal year that ended Sept. 24, Apple reported sales of $215.64 billion, down 7.7 percent from $233.72 billion in fiscal 2015. Net income, meanwhile, dropped 14.4 percent to $45.68 billion from $53.39 billion.

The company reported slower sales of iPhones and iPads in the fourth quarter, along with a significant decline in sales of the company's aging line of Mac laptops and desktop computers.

Hangzhou Xiongmai Recalls Connected Devices In Wake Of Massive DDoS Attack

Chinese manufacturer Hangzhou Xiongmai this week issued a recall of several of its webcams and other devices that were exploited in last week's massive distributed denial of service attack.

The DDoS attack against Dynamic Network Services (Dyn), which blocked access to many popular sites including Twitter and Netflix, was launched through tens of millions of connected devices infected with malicious software code. Security experts have been warning that such attacks using unsecured Internet of Things devices is a growing problem.

Hangzhou Xiongmai sells components for surveillance video cameras, dashboard cameras and DVR devices. While the company said its products did not make up the majority of devices used in the attack, it was recalling products sold before April 2015 and issuing a security patch for other devices.

While Hangzhou Xiongmai had a rough week, it could be the first of many Internet-enabled device makers that will have rough weeks in the future as the problem of IoT security becomes more widespread.

Symantec Restructures Channel Group; Channel Chief Thompson Is Out

At Symantec, the restructuring seems to never end. This week, the company said it is once again shuffling its channel leadership, including announcing the departure of channel chief John Thompson (pictured) as of mid-December.

The company said that in response to shifting market dynamics, it's shifting its leadership structure to focus on three key routes to market: global partner sales, global systems integrators, and service providers, MSPs and strategic partners.

With a new line of top executives following the acquisition of Blue Coat, a shakeup in the channel organization may have been inevitable. Still, it was certainly not a great week for Thompson. And for Symantec channel partners that have had to adjust to new managers and programs, it must feel like déjà vu all over again.

Google Halts Fiber Expansion Plans, Cuts 9 Percent Of Fiber Staff

It was a bad week to be part of Google's once-vaunted Google Fiber operation. This week, the company said it is shelving Google Fiber deployments and will lay off about 9 percent of the Google Access staff, the division that runs the Fiber program.

Craig Barratt, a Google executive who became Google Access CEO earlier this year, is stepping down amid the turmoil.

Google's move came as a disappointment for Google partners who saw the project as potentially competing with incumbent cable providers. But apparently the realities – and the costs – of building a nationwide fiber network to deliver high-speed Internet services caught up with Google.

Twitter Cuts Staff, Discontinues Vine Mobile Video Service

It also wasn't a good week to be working at Twitter, which this week announced it would cut 9 percent of its global workforce to reduce costs. That means about 300 Twitter employees will receive pink slips, according to a Reuters story.

Twitter is also shutting down Vine, a video application service the company launched in 2013 to compete with Facebook's Instagram, Reuters said.

Twitter has been under pressure to improve its financial performance, especially since reported efforts to sell the company were unsuccessful.