Five Companies That Dropped The Ball This Week

Oracle Slapped On Wrist Over Exadata Advertising

IBM took offense at an ad Oracle was running that claimed its Exadata Database machines run 20 times faster than IBM Power servers. IBM challenged the ad with the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council of the National Advertising Division, which is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. IBM said the "20x faster" claim was misleading in that it implied that the Exadata is faster than all IBM's Power servers, while Oracle responded that the audience understood it was based on a case study about a large European retailer.

Oracle lost, and then lost the appeal, and has since pulled the ad.

Apple: What Goes Up Must Come Down

Apple finally stopped defying gravity, if only for a little while, when it reported a revenue rise of "only" 22 percent and a profit rise of "only" 20 percent, which disappointed investors and caused them to dump enough shares in the company to bring its share price down 5 percent.

Apple's financials, which for most companies would have led to breaking out the champagne and setting off fireworks, resulted in part from a big drop in iPhone 4 sales as customers likely decided to wait for the coming iPhone 5.

There were no reports of potential customers lining up at Apple Stores to be the first to get an iPhone 5 despite rumors that it may become available sometime in the next 12 months.

Bad Week For Some Cisco Employees

Cisco this week confirmed plans to lay off about 1,300 people, or 2 percent of its worldwide workforce, citing a need to trim expenses. However, other reports put the number of people being laid off nearer 1,600.

Cisco declined to specify from which departments the layoffs would come.

Cisco, which says it regularly reviews its business to "align investment based on growth opportunities," last year laid off 6,500 employees.

HP's Vertica People Continue To Abandon Ship

Hewlett-Packard is continuing to lose top people from Vertica, the big data company it acquired last year. This week, the loss included Vertica's vice president of marketing who, like many of his Vertica colleagues, jumped ship to head for the greener pastures of big data startups.

The loss of talent could start to sting HP as the big data market is expected to grow significantly in response to customers' requirements for better ways to make business sense out of the mounds of data they are collecting.

Symantec Fires CEO Enrique Salem

Symantec this week fired President and CEO Enrique Salem. Symantec, which has been searching for the right strategy to meet market changes stemming from the Software-as-a-Service and mobility trends, replaced Salem with company Chairman Steve Bennett.

The firing of Salem left some in the channel scratching their heads. Salem has long been considered a channel-friendly executive.