5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending Jan. 12

Topping this week's roundup of those having a rough week is Intel, which continued to deal with Spectre and Meltdown fallout – including during CEO Brian Krzanich's keynote speech at this week's Consumer Electronics Show.

Also making the list this week was CES itself, including show organizers, exhibitors and attendees who had to contend with a power outage at the event; employees at IBM Global Technology Services who face the possibility of "redeployment;" Huawei, which didn't get the support that it was counting on for its new smartphone from U.S. telecommunications carriers; and Lenovo's big drop in PC sales in the U.S.

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.

Intel Continues To Deal With Meltdown/Spectre Fallout, CEO Addresses Chip Vulnerabilities At CES

Intel continued to scramble this week to deal with the ongoing fallout from the revelation that its processors contain security exploits, known as Meltdown and Spectre, which could affect millions of computers and devices.

Intel wasn't alone this week, of course, as nearly every major IT vendor in the industry – including other chip developers like AMD and ARM – raced to understand the extent of the threat and develop patches and updates to correct it. (AMD pulled back on earlier statements that the exploits posed "near zero risk" to its processors and is developing microcode and OS patch updates.) Aside from the need to quickly develop fixes for the problem, IT vendors were also struggling to determine how much of a performance hit the fixes would impose on IT systems.

But Intel continued to be the focus of the finger-pointing. Intel said it planned to issue within the next week updates for 90 percent of its processors from the past five years, with the remaining processors updated by the end of the month. The company sent channel partners a white paper outlining the steps and security tools needed to mitigate the Meltdown and Spectre exploits. And news reports disclosed Intel's plan to create a cross-company security group to address the exploit problem.

It was likely an especially tough week for Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, who delivered a keynote speech at this week's giant Consumer Electronics Show. While that speech is often Intel's time to shine and demonstrate its whiz-bang technology, Krzanich had to devote part of his speech to addressing the Meltdown/Spectre issue.

While the Intel CEO said there was no indication the exploits had resulted in stolen data, he said "the best thing" everyone could do to protect themselves was to "apply any updates" from operating system vendors and system manufacturers as soon as possible. He also said the performance impact of the fixes would be very "workload dependent."

IBM Considering 30 Percent Reduction In GTS Staff, Redeployment Of Thousands Of Service Professionals

It's been a tough week for employees at IBM's Global Technology Services operations amid reports that the company is considering making substantial reductions in the GTS workforce. The company is reportedly evaluating plans to move tens of thousands of GTS employees or let their positions expire when employees leave.

The plan, reportedly prepared for IBM by the Bain & Company management consultancy, calls for some 30 percent of IBM's service delivery and technology professionals to be "productively redeployed" in 2018.

About 30,900 IBM employees would be impacted by the plan, of which more than 10,000 are in the U.S.

GTS is the IBM business unit that provides IT infrastructure and outsourcing services.

Power Outage At CES Brings World's Biggest Technology Show To A Halt

The idea behind the massive Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is to showcase the IT industry's leading-edge electronics technology. And yet somebody at the show this week couldn't keep the lights on.

On Wednesday, in the midst of the weeklong show, the power in the Las Vegas Convention Center's central hall failed, leaving thousands of exhibitors and attendees in the dark. The failure occurred around 11:15 a.m. and power wasn't fully restored until around 1:00 p.m., according to published reports.

Visitors walking around in the dark noted the irony of a show built around advanced technology brought to a halt by something as basic as a power outage. It was a red-faced moment for CES organizers and the operators of the LVCC.

One attendee, wandering in the gloom, told a CRN reporter that, "Maybe CES finally exceeded its limits," a tongue-in-cheek reference to the notoriously crowded and hectic event.

Huawei Loses U.S. Carrier Support For Its Latest Smartphone

Huawei was all set for a big coming out party for its new Mate 10 Pro smartphone at CES 2018. But then AT&T and Verizon Wireless rained on the company's parade.

Huawei was widely expected to announce partnerships with carriers AT&T and Verizon Wireless this week, according to multiple media reports, under which the two carriers would sell the Mate 10 Pro. Huawei has been trying to gain traction in the U.S. wireless market for years and the new phone, combined with the carrier partnerships, were seen as a big step toward that goal.

But the partnerships weren't announced. There was speculation the carriers backed away from the deals because of security concerns regarding Huawei's alleged ties to the Chinese government.

Solution providers can still offer the Mate 10 Pro by obtaining the devices through retail channels.

Lenovo's PC Sales Decline And Its U.S. PC Market Share Slips In Q4

Lenovo's PC shipments in the U.S. fell a whopping 23.6 percent year over year in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to a report issued this week by market researcher Gartner. The company, which is No. 4 in the U.S. behind HP Inc., Dell and Apple, shipped 1.79 million PCs during the quarter compared with 2.34 million PCs one year earlier.

The result: Lenovo's share of the U.S. PC market fell 2.4 points year over year to 11.8 percent in the fourth quarter, according to the Gartner report.

Globally, where Lenovo is a close No. 2 behind HP, Lenovo's unit shipments declined 0.7 percent to 15.74 million units from 15.86 million units one year before. But with global PC shipments down 2 percent across the industry, Lenovo's results were good enough for it to gain 0.3 percent market share of the global PC market to 22 percent.