5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending March 31

Topping this week's roundup of companies that had a rough week is IBM -- and its employees -- as the giant IT company engages in another wave of employee layoffs.

Also making the list this week were IT services company HCL Technologies, which is being sued by a major American brewing company over a contract dispute; Google, for having to delay its Android Wear 2.0 because of a software bug; Lastpass, which has scrambled to fix a major vulnerability in its password management software; and users of Microsoft IIS 6.0, for whom expecting a patch for a security vulnerability just isn't an option.

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.

IBM Employees Facing Another Round Of Layoffs

IBM began a new round of layoffs this week with senior employees reportedly bearing the brunt of the latest, in IBM parlance, "resource action." This week's cutbacks are the latest in a series of workforce reductions that the company has undertaken in recent years.

The cuts were taking place across North America and some offices in Europe, according to the website The Register. Technical sales and software technical sales staff, particularly in sales and distribution operations, were especially hard hit. The site also said that senior employees, presumably those with higher salaries, were among those laid off.

The website wraltechwire.com, which covers the Research Triangle Park area in North Carolina, reported layoffs at IBM facilities there. Employees within Systems and Power teams were also reported to be impacted. IBM is said to be offering jobs elsewhere in the company to some employees facing layoffs. Some reports based their information on postings on a Facebook page set up for former IBM employees.

In December, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty pledged that the company would create 25,000 new jobs in the U.S. over the next four years and invest $1 billion in employee training and development.

HCL Faces $100M Lawsuit Over SAP Implementation Project

IT services company HCL Technologies has been hit with a $100 million lawsuit by American brewery MillerCoors, which is charging that HCL botched an SAP application implementation project.

In the lawsuit, filed in federal court in Illinois, MillerCoors charges SAP with breach of contract over a project to implement and customize SAP applications for production, sales, distribution, warehouse operations, human resource management and other operations, according to the website UpperEdge.com. The contract was initially valued at $53 million.

In the suit, MillerCoors charges that HCL failed to meet project deadlines between its start in December 2013 and its termination in June 2016, and that HCL did not assign sufficient staff to the project. As a result, MillerCoors says it suffered damages and seeks compensation in excess of $100 million.

HCL says it's in talks with MillerCoors to resolve the dispute.

LastPass Hustles To Fix Major Vulnerability In Its Password Manager Software

LastPass scrambled to fix what it described as a serious vulnerability and "major architectural problem" with its password management software this week after a researcher at Google discovered the flaw that could be used by attackers to steal passwords or execute code.

The client-side vulnerability was discovered over the weekend and LastPass has been advising users to stop using its browser plugins while it fixes the problem.

A security bulletin on the LastPass website recommended that users adopt two-factor authentication from any website that offers it, while the company fixes the problem. It also cautioned users to beware of phishing attacks.

Microsoft IIS 6.0 Users Face Zero-Day Vulnerability Issue

Speaking of software security problems, a zero-day vulnerability discovered in Microsoft Internet Information Services 6.0 is giving users headaches.

Because the software is no longer supported, the software has gone unfixed, according to a story on Threatpost. Earlier this week, two researchers from the South China University of Technology posted a proof-of-concept exploit of the vulnerability.

IIS 6.0 first shipped with Windows Server 2003, for which support ended in July 2015. Microsoft has responded by recommending that users upgrade to the latest editions of the Windows Server OS. While most companies running IIS today are using IIS 7 or IIS 8, Threatpost said that 11.3 percent of IIS sites are still running 6.0.

Discovered Bug Delays Availability Of Google's New Android Wear Release

Google has had to hold off on a wider release of Android Wear 2.0, the next edition of the company's operating system for smartwatches and other wearable devices, because of a bug found during final tests of the software.

While the software is already running on a few devices, including the LG Watch Style and LG watch Sport, the company has had to hold off on a wider rollout while it deals with the software problem, according to 9to5Google.com.

Google said it would push the update to devices using the 2.0 release once the problem is corrected, but has not provided a timeline.