5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending Oct. 23

Topping this week's roundup of companies that had a rough week is the continued slide in VMware's share price amid uncertainty surrounding its future following the Dell-EMC acquisition deal.

Also making the list were Symantec and its loss of a well-known channel executive, HP's decision to shut down its public cloud business, Unisys' continued financial losses, and Oracle's scramble to patch vulnerabilities in a number of its best-known products.

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.

VMware Shares Continue Slide Amid Uncertainty Surrounding Dell-EMC Deal

Last week VMware made our "Rough Week" list when the company's stock price plummeted 17 percent on the news that Dell would acquire EMC, creating uncertainty about VMware's future. (EMC owns a majority stake in VMware.)

This week it got worse.

From its $69.62 close on Friday, Oct. 16, to its $55.42 close on Wednesday, Oct. 21, VMware's stock price lost more than 20 percent in value. (The stock recovered a bit on Thursday to $56.79 per share.)

EMC CEO Joseph Tucci tried to reassure investors that day by saying that VMware was "vital" to the success of the new Dell-EMC combined company. One day earlier VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger acknowleged that "this has been a volatile time for our investors."

VMware's total market capitalization has tumbled from $33.2 billion on Oct. 9, just before the Dell-EMC deal was announced, to just less than $24.0 billion at the close of trading Thursday of this week – a loss of more than $9 billion.

Symantec's Channel Commitment Under Scrutiny After Executive's Sudden Departure

Security software vendor Symantec disclosed Wednesday that Adrian Jones, executive vice president and general manager of global sales and operations, is no longer with the enterprise security software company.

Jones, a highly regarded channel veteran from earlier jobs at Hewlett-Packard and Oracle, had been leading the reinvigoration of Symantec's channel programs following the divestment of its Veritas storage management business.

Solution providers saw Jones' departure as a big loss that raised questions about Symantec's channel commitment just as the new channel program was getting off the ground.

HP Shuts Down Helion Cloud Service

Hewlett-Packard will shut down its Helion Public Cloud service on Jan. 31, the company said this week, a move that acknowledges the dominance of Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google in the public cloud arena.

One solution provider executive told CRN that the decision to shutter Helion is the latest of several fits and starts in HP's strategy that hampers partners' sales efforts. He said HP also constantly reshuffles executives and doesn't sell enough software through the channel.

HP said it would focus its cloud computing efforts on providing managed and virtual private cloud services to customers, including investing in its Helion OpenStack platform.

Unisys Reports Revenue Decline, Predicts Slow Turnaround

Unisys remains mired in a slump. This week the solution provider reported a double-digit drop in its third-quarter revenue and a loss of nearly $10 million.

Revenue for the quarter was $739 million, down 16 percent from $882 million in the same period one year earlier. And the loss for the quarter, $9.6 million, was a marked turnaround from the $47.8 million profit one year before.

The company is in the midst of a restructuring effort, announced in April, which carries a $300 million price tag. And a move to transition to a new operating model that aims at maximizing gross margins on contracts, while strengthening the company's finances in the long term, could put negative pressure on the company's sales pipeline for the short-term.

Oracle Scrambles To Fix Database, Java Vulnerabilities

Oracle moved this week to fix 154 vulnerabilities in its software products, including a flaw in Java that attackers – believed to be a Russian cyberespionage group – used to hack into a NATO IT system earlier this year.

The October 2015 Critical Patch Update release addressed vulnerabilities in the flagship Oracle Database Server, the MySQL database and Java SE development environment, among other products.