Five Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending Oct. 31

This week's roundup of companies that had a rough week -- even a scary one -- include Apple's Apple Pay service that was dropped by some key retailers, a leading solution provider that's working through restructuring plans and layoffs, Google's loss of a key executive, and CSC and AT&T, which were hit with federal government lawsuits alleging misconduct.

Apple Pay Dumped By CVS And Rite Aid

Apple Pay, Apple's new mobile payment platform that's been generating lots of buzz lately, took a hit this week when CVS and Rite Aid said they are no longer accepting the payment option. Partners said the lost support could create a security risk for consumers.

CVS and Rite Aid said they were ending support for Apple Pay and Google Wallet, both NFC (near field communications) payment options, in favor of another system called CurrentC that the pharmacy chains and 56 other major retailers are working on. All this could hinder Apple's efforts to win market acceptance for the Apple Pay service.

Ciber Plans Layoffs As Q3 Sales, Earnings Fall

Ciber will lay off 280 employees, about 4 percent of its 6,500-person global workforce, as part of a $27 million restructuring plan the Englewood Village, Colo.-based solution provider detailed this week.

The news came as Ciber, No. 38 on the CRN 2014 Solution Provider 500 list, recorded a $1.9 million loss in its third quarter ended Sept. 30, in contrast to a $1.4 million profit in the same quarter one year before. Revenue declined 3 percent on a current currency basis to $211.3 million, falling short of analysts' forecasts.

Google Loses Its Top Robotics Executive

Andy Rubin, the co-founder of Google's Android mobile software business and more recently leader of the company's nascent robotics group, is leaving the company. Rubin's departure could mark a setback for the company's robotics efforts.

Word of Rubin's departure leaked out Thursday. Rubin reportedly plans to start a tech incubator focused on startups interested in building technology hardware products.

Rubin joined Google in 2005 when the company acquired Android. Last year Google acquired eight robotics companies, including Boston Dynamics, Meka Robotics and Schaft, and Rubin was put in charge of Google's efforts to further develop the robotics business. The task of managing the robotics unit will now fall to James Kuffner, a Google research scientist who has been with the company since 2009 and worked on Google's self-driving cars initiative.

CSC Hit With Lawsuit Alleging Medicaid Fraud

The U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit against CSC alleging that the systems integrator participated in a multimillion-dollar Medicaid billing fraud scheme with the New York City government. CSC has denied the charges.

The lawsuit, filed this week in Manhattan federal court against CSC and the city of New York, alleges that CSC and the city defrauded Medicaid by using computer systems to alter billing data to their advantage. CSC, No. 4 on the CRN 2014 Solution Provider 500 list, contracted to help the city process insurance claims and Medicaid payments for its Early Intervention Program. The suit describes several ways CSC allegedly committed fraud, including altering policy IDs to circumvent a requirement that the city bill private insurance before billing Medicaid.

FTC Lawsuit Charges AT&T Misleads Consumers On Data Speeds

CSC wasn't the only company on the receiving end of a government lawsuit this week. The Federal Trade Commission is suing AT&T in federal court alleging that the telecommunications company "misled millions of consumers" -- subscribers to the vendor's unlimited data plan -- by reducing their data speeds by up to 90 percent.

When subscribers reached a certain amount of data use in a billing cycle, the suit alleged that AT&T "throttled" data speeds to the point that basic mobile apps such as GPS navigation, Web browsing and video streaming became nearly impossible. AT&T issued a statement Tuesday denying the allegations.