5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending May 18

Topping this week's roundup of those having a rough week is Xerox CEO Jeff Jacobson, who appears to have lost the battle for control of the storied company and is now out of a job.

Also making the list this week are Apple, which faces a lawsuit and a consumer petition over MacBook Pro keyboard issues; Symantec executives, who face a discretionary compensation freeze as part of an internal investigation; a system outage that knocked Nest devices offline; and the Chili's restaurant chain, which suffered a data security breach that compromised an undisclosed number of customer credit and debit cards.

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.

Xerox CEO Jacobson Is Ousted – Again – As Activist Investors Appear To Win

The battle over the future of Xerox that has dragged on for several weeks appeared to come to an end this week with CEO Jeff Jacobson and five board members resigning in the face of opposition from activist investors Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason.

Jacobson and the board members had briefly resigned earlier this month, but returned within days when an agreement with the shareholders fell through.

Sunday Xerox's board issued a statement saying it was killing a deal to be acquired by Fujifilm and announced the departures of Jacobson and the five board members. On Wednesday the company named John Visentin, a senior consultant to Icahn Enterprises, to be the new Xerox CEO.

Xerox's problems may not be over, however. On Friday, Fujifilm said it plans to sue Xerox, claiming the merger is still on.

Apple Faces Lawsuit, Recall Petition Over MacBook Pro Keyboard Issues

Apple faces growing pushback from MacBook Pro customers who are upset about alleged defects in the laptop's keyboard, with the filing of a proposed class-action lawsuit and an online petition seeking a recall of the devices.

Apple introduced a redesigned MacBook Pro in late 2016 featuring a "butterfly" keyboard mechanism that the company said would provide more responsive and more comfortable typing.

But a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court of Northern California by the Girard Gibbs law firm, on behalf of two MacBook Pro owners, says the keyboard is "defective" and "prone to fail." The suit, which also covers Apple's MacBook, seeks class-action status.

A petition on Change.org seeking a recall of the post-2016 MacBook Pro had more than 25,000 signatures as of Thursday.

Symantec Execs Face Discretionary Compensation Freeze As Internal Probe Continues

Symantec this week disclosed more information about an internal investigation the company announced last week. And it looks like executive compensation programs are under the microscope.

The company said the investigation, launched in response to issues raised by a former employee, involves reporting of some non-GAAP measures, including those that could impact executive compensation programs.

Symantec CEO Greg Clark told Wall Street analysts this week that all discretionary and performance-based compensation for named executive officers is on hold pending the results of the investigation.

There was good news this week, however: The security software company said the internal Audit Committee probe isn't expected to have a material negative impact on the company's past financial results.

Nest Smart Home System Fails For Several Hours

Users of the Nest smart home products, including thermostats, security systems, cameras, doorbells and smoke detectors, were unable to control their devices for up to several hours Wednesday night when the system went down.

SlashGear, GearBrain and other media reported the outage that began around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday. The outage affected Nest iOS and Android applications and the Nest web interface, which were unable to connect to the Nest service.

Users were still able to operate systems like thermostats and doorlocks the old-fashioned mechanical way. But the outage shows the potential pitfalls of networked devices like home security systems.

Nest reported that mobile applications had regained access to the system about one hour after the outage was first reported and that the entire system was operational after about three hours. The root cause of the failure remains unclear.

Chili's Restaurants Hit By Data Breach

Brinker International, the parent company of the Chili's restaurant chain, said this week that some of its restaurants were hit by a data security incident that may have resulted in customers' credit and debit card information being compromised.

The company said malware was used to collect data from point-of-sale systems at a number of restaurants, but did not provide a list of the impacted restaurants.

The company said the incident occurred between March and April of this year and was discovered May 11. It is currently working with third-party data forensics experts to determine details of what happened and how many customers were affected, according to a USA Today story.