5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending June 29

Topping this week's roundup of those having a rough week is Amazon Web Services, whose efforts to win a massive Pentagon cloud services contract is being opposed by yet more IT vendors.

Also making the list this week are Apple for having to take steps to fix potentially defective MacBook and MacBook Pro keyboards; storage technology vendor Tintri, which may be running out of cash; marketing database company Exactis, which may be the latest poster boy for bad data security practices; and Slack and millions of its users who suffered through a service outage Wednesday.

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.

AWS Facing More Opposition For JEDI Cloud Contract

Amazon Web Services is reportedly facing opposition from a wider array of IT companies to its efforts to win a multi-billion-dollar cloud services contract from the Pentagon.

Oracle, IBM and Microsoft initially opposed awarding the contract to AWS earlier this year. The expanded coalition now includes SAP America, General Dynamics Corp.'s CSRA unit, Dell Technologies, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Red Hat and VMware.

While come of those companies are also believed to be competing for parts of the JEDI contract, others are not considered to be in competition for the contract and are reportedly opposed to awarding the entire contract to AWS or any single company.

The Pentagon has paused bidding on the contract, but is still expected to select a contractor -- or contractors -- in September.

Apple To Fix Or Replace Defective MacBook Keyboards

Apple has launched a keyboard service program for problematic MacBook and MacBook Pro laptop keyboards, following an uproar from users and three lawsuits over reportedly defective keyboards.

Apple is dealing with reports that some keyboards in the laptop models released since late 2016 are defective, including "sticky" keys, keys that do not respond in a consistent manner, and unexpectedly repeating letters and characters.

Apple maintains the problems are limited to a small percentage of the laptops.

On one level, the fact that Apple now recognizes there is a problem and is responding to it deserves applause. But it's still a rough week given that Apple has this problem and must respond at all.

Tintri Reportedly Running Out Of Cash, Lays Off Much Of Its Staff

Storage array tech developer Tintri has reportedly laid off up to 200 of its workers -- about 80 percent of its staff -- and is close to running out of cash, according to a report on The Register website.

A story on the ComputerWekly website said Tintri, with its cash burn rate, could be looking at a bankruptcy filing as soon as July.

In a statement issued June 15, the company said it was "currently in breach of certain covenants under its credit facilities and likely does not have sufficient liquidity to continue its operations beyond June 30, 2018."

Last week CEO Thomas Barton resigned from the Mountain View, Calif.-based company, according to a filing with the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission. Barton was just hired March 13.

Tintri's stock, which hit $6.55 a share on March 9, has steadily fallen, hitting 14 cents per share at the close of trading Thursday.

Marketing Database Vendor Exactis Exposes Data On 340 Million Individuals

In the latest case of data brokers failing to secure consumer data, a security researcher says that Exactis, a Palm Coast, Fla.-based data aggregation and marketing data broker, left records for 230 million individual consumers and 110 million businesses exposed and unprotected on the Internet.

The incident, first reported Wednesday by Wired, could exceed the scope of last year's Equifax debacle that exposed sensitive personal and financial information on 143 million Americans.

Wired reported that Exactis secured the databases after the security researcher discovered the problem, but has yet to publicly confirm or comment on the incident.

Slack -- And About 8 Million Users -- Suffer Through System Outage

Slack, the increasingly popular communications and collaboration application, suffered a service outage Wednesday that lasted for more than 3 hours before the system was restored at 9:49 a.m. PT/12:49 p.m. ET.

The company blamed "connectivity issues" for the outage and kept users informed through a steady stream of tweets such as: "We're still in rocky waters, and are trying to stabilize our connectivity issues. Thanks for sticking with us."

The outage demonstrated how dependent on the Slack workplace application some individuals and business have become. In a wave of tweets people appeared lost without the service with some noting that they now had to talk with co-workers face-to-face.

One tweet from "Manny" noted that Slack was down and he had no means to communicate with his team. The tweet was accompanied by a photo from Manny's workspace with his team just feet away. We're assuming it was meant to be ironic.