5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending Aug. 11

Topping this week's roundup of companies that had a rough week is Microsoft, which is no longer recommended by Consumer Reports after reliability issues arise.

Also making the list this week were Black Box Network Services for a slew of problems over the past quarter; Brocade for losing Channel Chief Sandra Glaser Cheek to Ciena; IBM for suing their former CIO to stop him from taking a job at Amazon Web Services; and Cisco for losing a senior market engagement leader.

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.

Microsoft Surface No Longer Recommended by Consumer Reports After Reliability Issues Arise

Consumer Reports announced Thursday that Microsoft Surface devices – including the Surface Pro and the Surface Book – are prone to more problems over time than competing products.

The non-profit product rating organization found that 25 percent of Microsoft laptops and tablets will present their owners with problems by the end of the second year of ownership, which Consumer Reports said is a statistically significant difference from most other brands.

Survey respondents also indicated that device startup, unexpected freezing and shutdowns, and touchscreen responsiveness were issues for Surface devices, according to Consumer Reports.

Microsoft said they disagree with Consumer Reports' findings, and that real-world return, support and customer satisfaction data show that Surface is at least on par with other devices in the category.

Black Box's Stock Falls After Centralization, ERP Implementation, Commercial Services Woes

The stock of Black Box Network Services plummeted $3.46 (46.64%) Friday to $4.02 per share after CEO E.C. Sykes revealed a slew of problems to Wall Street analysts.

First, the Lawrence, Penn.-based company, No. 40 on the 2017 CRN Solution Provider 500, ran into issues centralizing its European supply chain and back office efforts, with country-specific legacy processes impacting order management and supply chain.

Additionally, a delay around Black Box's Enterprise Resource Planning integration service provider resulted in the project remaining in the planning stage longer than expected, which took a bite out of earnings.

Finally, Black Box's equipment shipments and short-term project revenue in its commercial services business were below historic levels, with the team continuing to deal with legacy cost issues from the branch model.

Brocade Loses Sandra Glaser Cheek As Channel Chief

Twenty-year channel veteran and winner of CRN's 2016 Channel Madness Tournament of Chiefs Sandra Glaser Cheek left the company to take a top channel role at global networking telecom provider Ciena.

Brocade-Ruckus is set to be acquired by Broadcom in the fall for $5.9 billion; the company then plans to immediately sell Ruckus and its IP networking business to Arris International. One source familiar with the matter told CRN there wasn't a global partner or marketing position available for Glaser Cheek at Arris.

Raelyn Kritzer will take over for Glaser Cheek and led Ruckus' global channel strategies, according to Brocade. She's been with Brocade for 16 years in various partner marketing executive roles and is currently senior director for worldwide partner programs and enablement.

IBM Sues To Stop Former CIO Jeff Smith From Taking A Job At Amazon Web Services

IBM filed a complaint in New York federal court arguing that former Chief Information Officer Jim Smith knows highly-sensitive information about the next generation of cloud computing technology currently being developed by IBM, and will share them with AWS if allowed to work for the cloud rival.

IBM argues that a non-compete agreement should prevent Smith's employment with any rival until May. The Armonk, N.Y.-based company said Smith was hired to serve as a vice president at AWS managing overall strategy and operations and reporting directly at AWS CEO Andy Jassy.

IBM also accused Smith in the court filings of already sharing corporate secrets with Jassy. Specifically, the company alleges that Smith wiped his IBM-issued phone and tablet to prevent IBM from discovering secret communications with the AWS CEO.

Cisco Loses Senior Market Engagement Leader

Cisco's senior director of global market engagement and enablement Patrick Piwowarczyk left the channel giant to boost the channel charge at unified communications and collaboration competitor Polycom.

Piwowarczyk was focused on driving revenue growth, profitability, operational effectiveness and the customer and partner experience at Cisco, according to his LinkedIn profile. He was also senior director of Cisco's go-to-market business capabilities and global business sales operations for nearly four years.

Over his 20-year career, Piwowarczyk held top U.S. channel sales roles for networking vendors such as D-Link and 3Com, which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard in 2010 for $2.7 billion.