5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending Oct. 24

This week's roundup of companies that had a rough week include fallout from IBM's poor third-quarter results, ugly sales numbers for Amazon's Fire Phone, more cost cutting at Juniper Networks, a potential security breach at a major office supply retailer and two IT vendor conferences with the same name, in the same city, at the same time.

IBM Reports Lousy Q3 Results, Pays GlobalFoundries $1.5 Billion To Take Its Chip Business

There was just no good way to spin this. While Wall Street expectations certainly weren't high, IBM's third-quarter results released Monday were still a shock. The company reported a 4 percent year-over-year drop in sales to $22.4 billion and the abandonment of the company's goal of reaching $20 earnings per share by the end of 2015. IBM shares fell more than 7 percent by the end of the day.

IBM also said it would pay GlobalFoundries $1.5 billion to take its money-losing chip business off its hands -- IBM's latest move to divest itself of its low-performing businesses. CEO Ginni Rometty is trying to shift IBM's business toward higher value products and services, but this week even she admitted Big Blue needs to "accelerate this transformation."

Amazon Discloses How Big A Flop Its Fire Phone Has Been

It's no secret Amazon's Fire Phone has seen less than stellar commercial success since its July launch. But this week, when the company reported its third-quarter financial results, it became clear just what a costly disaster the much-hyped product has been.

Amazon is taking a $170 million write-down against earnings "primarily" because of unsold Fire Phones and supplier commitment costs, CFO Tom Szkutak said Thursday. The company also said it had $83 million worth of unsold Fire Phone inventory at the close of the quarter.

Juniper Plans More Cost Cutting, Warns Of Bleak Q4

It's been a tough year for Juniper Networks, hit by executive departures and employee layoffs. This week it became clear that Juniper's troubles aren't over: The company will cut an additional $100 million in expenses by the end of 2014 and it warned that fourth-quarter revenue would fall short of what analysts had been forecasting.

Earlier this year Juniper cut 6 percent of its workforce, about 550 employees, as part of its plan to trim $160 million from its expenses. The latest $100 million in cuts, disclosed this week when Juniper reported its Q3 results, brings the total cuts to $260 million. Executives did not say whether more layoffs are planned, only that the cost reductions include "a careful management of headcount.

Staples Investigating Possible Security Breach

Hardly a week goes by without another retailer reporting a security breach of its IT systems. This week office supply retailer Staples said it was investigating a potential security lapse involving credit card data.

Early in the week it was reported that banks were tracing fraudulent transactions to credit card accounts of people who had shopped at Staples. The investigation was focused on stores in Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the Northeast. The breach, as of Friday, had not been confirmed and its full scope was unclear.

IBM, NetApp Schedule Las Vegas Conferences With The Same Name, On The Same Dates

IBM and NetApp are holding separate events in Las Vegas next week -- both with the name "Insight." IBM Insight, formerly known as IBM Information On Demand, is being held at the Mandalay Bay hotel and conference center from Oct. 26 to Oct. 30. NetApp, meanwhile, is having its NetApp Insight conference between Oct. 27 and Oct. 30 at the MGM Grand, about a half mile away on the strip.

It's a pretty good bet that each morning at least 10 percent of each events' attendees will be sitting in the wrong conferenceā€¦