5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending April 21

Topping this week's roundup of companies that had a rough week is IBM, which reported its 20th consecutive quarter of declining sales and saw its stock punished as a result.

Also making the list this week were Verizon, for its less-than-stellar earnings report that included its first decline in wireless subscribers; Zscaler, which faces additional patent infringement claims from Symantec; Qualcomm for having to pay nearly $1 billion to BlackBerry in a royalty payment dispute; and InterContinental Hotels Group for a security breach at more than 1,100 of its hotel properties.

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.

IBM Reports 20th Straight Quarterly Revenue Decline, Stock Sinks 5 Percent

IBM played up the Q1 growth in its "strategic imperative" technologies like cloud and cognitive computing. But there was no getting around the fact that the company's sales in the first fiscal quarter ended March 31 were down 2.8 percent, marking the 20th consecutive quarter of revenue declines for the company.

The $18.16 billion in sales for the quarter fell far below the $18.39 billion Wall Street had expected, and IBM shares were punished as a result, losing more than 5 percent of their value on Wednesday.

Net income for the quarter was $1.75 billion, down 13 percent year over year, and analysts noted that the company lost market share in many of the technology segments in which it competes.

Verizon Reports Q1 Revenue Slide, Wireless Subscriber Decline

IBM wasn't the only company that didn't have a great Q1. Verizon reported this week that operating revenue for the first quarter ended March 31 fell 7.3 percent to $29.81 billion, marking the fourth consecutive decline in quarterly operating revenue. Net income, meanwhile, plunged nearly 20 percent to $3.55 billion.

But even more disconcerting was the decline in the telecommunications company's wireless business, an area the company used to dominate. Wireless revenue was down 5.1 percent to $20.88 billion, and the company lost 307,000 retail postpaid subscribers on a net basis – the first time the company has ever recorded a quarterly net loss of wireless subscribers, according to MarketWatch.

Zscaler Sued By Symantec – Again – For Alleged Patent Violations

Security platform developer Zscaler found itself on the wrong end of a patent infringement lawsuit brought against it by Symantec – the second lawsuit the company faces from Symantec.

This week Symantec sued Zscaler in U.S. Federal District Court for the District of Delaware charging Zscaler with seven cases of patent infringement around patents Symantec holds in web security, security scanning, data loss prevention, intrusion detection and intrusion signature analysis.

The security technologies covered in the lawsuit surround Symantec's acquisition of Blue Coat Systems last year.

In December Symantec filed its first lawsuit against Zscaler charging that the company violated patents Symantec holds around web security, data loss prevention, threat prevention, access control and antivirus technologies.

Qualcomm Prepares To Fork Over Nearly $1 Billion To BlackBerry To Settle Royalty Dispute

Qualcomm took a hit of $974 million to its fiscal 2017 second quarter revenue results this week following a ruling by an arbitration panel that the maker of chips used in cell phones owes $815 million to BlackBerry over a royalty dispute.

Qualcomm and BlackBerry disputed whether a royalty cap program applied to BlackBerry's non-refundable royalty pre-payments for chip sales between 2010 and 2015. The two companies agreed to binding arbitration to settle the issue and last week the panel said Qualcomm owes BlackBerry $815 million, plus interest and attorney fees, according to reports published by CNBC, The Verge and other websites.

While Qualcomm said it disagrees with the non-appealable ruling, this week the company reduced its reported revenue in its Q2 results by $974 million to cover the cost of the arbitration decision.

InterContinental Hotels Group Confirms New Payment Card System Breach

InterContinental Hotels Group, the multinational hotel conglomerate whose properties include the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza hotel chains, confirmed this week that payment card systems at more than 1,000 of its hotels had suffered a security breach.

In February IHG acknowledged that a breach had occurred, but said it appeared to involve only a dozen properties, according to the Krebs on Security Website.

But this week IHG released data showing that front desk payment systems at more than 1,100 of its properties were compromised with malicious software designed to collect data from customers' credit and debit cards. The breach is believed to have occurred between September and December of last year.