5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending Jan. 27

Topping this week's roundup of companies that had a rough week is Yahoo, which is reportedly under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission about its allegedly tardy disclosure of two massive security breaches.

Also making the list this week were HP's notebook battery recall for potential overheating hazards, Verizon for the poor fourth-quarter performance of its wireless business, Qualcomm for being the target of yet more lawsuits, and Cisco Systems for a critical vulnerability in its WebEx browser extension.

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 5 Companies That Came To Win roundup.

Yahoo Reportedly Under SEC Investigation For Security Breach Disclosure

Yahoo, already wrestling with the fallout from two massive security breaches, is now reportedly facing an investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over the issue of whether the company was too slow in disclosing the incidents.

Last year Yahoo disclosed that it was the target of security breaches in August 2013 and again in late 2014, involving 1 billion and 500 million user accounts, respectively. The disclosures have reportedly put in jeopardy a deal for Yahoo to be acquired by telecommunications giant Verizon for $4.83 billion.

This week The Wall Street Journal reported that the SEC is investigating whether Yahoo's failure to disclose the breaches, particularly the 2014 incident, violated laws that require publicly held companies to disclose such information to investors in a timely manner.

HP Expands Notebook Battery Recall Due To Overheating Risk

With Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 debacle still fresh on everyone's minds, overheating batteries in mobile devices is especially bad news these days. So HP makes the "Rough Week" list this week on the news that the vendor is expanding a recall of notebook computer batteries that the company and federal authorities say have a potential for "fire and burn hazards."

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission disclosed this week that the recall has been expanded to cover 101,000 batteries, up from 41,000 recalled in June 2016. The batteries, sold between March 2013 and October 2016, were shipped with specific HP ProBook, HP Envy, Compaq Presario and HP Pavilion notebook computers. Some were also sold as accessories, spares, or replacements through HP support.

HP has received eight reports of batteries that overheated, melted or charred with about $5,000 in property damage reported as a result of the incidents.

Verizon Reports Q4 Decline In Wireless Revenue

While Verizon works to expand in new areas like media content and the Internet of Things, the telecommunications giant is seeing a slowdown in its core wireless communications business.

For its fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 Verizon reported this week that wireless revenue was $23.37 billion, down 1.5 percent from $23.73 billion in the same quarter one year earlier.

Bloomberg reported that the company added 591,000 wireless subscribers in the quarter compared with 1.5 million a year earlier – less than the 744,056 new subscribers analysts had projected. That despite cutting prices and offering giveaways like free iPhones – moves that cut into profits.

Apple Expands Patent Fight With Qualcomm, Sues Chipmaker In China

Qualcomm found itself facing more lawsuits this week alleging that it has abused its dominant position in the mobile chip industry.

Apple filed two lawsuits in China against Qualcomm, one alleging the chipmaker violated China's anti-monopoly law and the second seeking a license agreement from Qualcomm that covers "standard essential patents."

In the first lawsuit Apple seeks damages of 1 billion yuan, or about $145 million.

The newest legal actions come on the heels of lawsuits brought against Qualcomm last week, one by Apple alleging that Qualcomm demanded "onerous, unreasonable" terms for licensing its patents and seeking $1 billion in unpaid royalty rebates, and another by the Federal Trade Commission alleging that the chipmaker engaged in "ant-icompetitive tactics" by forcing Apple to use its semiconductors exclusively.

Cisco Scrambles To Fix Critical WebEx Flaw

Cisco developers scrambled this week to develop and release a fix for a critical vulnerability in the browser extension of its WebEx collaboration and conferencing software that could allow hackers to carry out a remote code execution attack.

While the company released a patched version of the extension for Google Chrome this week, patches for Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Internet Explorer were still under development, according to published reports on SecurityWeek.com, ThreatPost.com and other sites.