5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending Nov. 17

Topping this week's roundup of those having a rough week is AT&T, whose wireless phone service suffered a significant outage, inconveniencing business and consumer customers.

Also making the list this week are Google, which wrestled with its own service outage with Google Docs; Oracle, which scrambled to fix some serious vulnerabilities in its Tuxedo application server; IBM, whose stock is no longer favored by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway; and Apple, which announced a delay in shipping its HomePod smart speaker until early 2018.

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.

AT&T's Nationwide Wireless Outage Impacts Business Users, Consumers

Customers relying on AT&T, one of the nation's largest wireless carriers, were hit by a widespread service outage Wednesday. Businesses and consumers reported that they had no cellular service, rendering their mobile phones unable to place or receive calls for hours.

AT&T acknowledged Wednesday night that it was having problems with its nationwide LTE network. While the outage was largely resolved by Thursday morning, DownDetector.com reported that some customers were still experiencing issues.

AT&T has not yet revealed the root cause of the service outage. One solution provider said the problems appeared to only affect voice calls made over LTE, and calls and data over Wi-Fi were not impacted.

Google Docs Outage Impacts Thousands Of Users And Partners

Sticking with the topic of service outages, it wasn't the best of weeks for Google or for thousands of its Google Docs users. A "significant subset" of Google Docs business customers were unable to access their document files Wednesday when the popular cloud-based document creation and editing tool suffered a widespread service disruption.

The outage began a few minutes before 4 p.m. EST Wednesday and lasted between 30 minutes to just over an hour for most users, Google confirmed. Most customers had service restored by Wednesday night and the service was fully restored by Thursday.

Google apologized for the problem, but has not said what caused it.

Two weeks ago Google Docs suffered a system glitch that locked some people out of their document files, telling users that they had violated terms of service or their content had been flagged as "inappropriate" and could not be shared.

Oracle Scrambles To Fix Severe Vulnerabilities In Tuxedo App Server

Oracle issued an emergency update to fix five vulnerabilities, some of them rated "severe," in the Jolt server within the company's Tuxedo application server software.

Some of Oracle's enterprise applications, most notably the Oracle PeopleSoft Campus solutions, Human Capital Management, Financial Management and Supply Chain Management, include the Tuxedo server and so are open to exploitation, according to an Oracle security alert and a news story on the Threatpost website.

The vulnerabilities, discovered by researchers at ERPScan, are considered severe with two rated 9.9 and 10.0 on the CVSS scale, according to Threatpost. Oracle said the vulnerabilities could be exploited over a network without a valid user name and password.

Buffett's Berkshire Sold Off Nearly One-Third Of Its IBM Stake In Q3

The significant investment Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway made in IBM several years back was widely touted as a major vote of confidence in the IT giant. So it's been rough for IBM this year as Buffett has been reducing his stake the company.

This week was especially rough for Big Blue when word got out that in the third quarter Berkshire sold nearly one-third (just under 32 percent) of its remaining IBM shares. That cut its IBM holdings from 54.1 million shares worth $8.32 billion at the start of the quarter to about 37 million shares worth $5.37 billion, according to a Reuters story.

Berkshire once owned more than 80 million shares of IBM. But in May Buffett revealed that he had begun selling IBM shares, telling CNBC that he did not value IBM as much as he did six years ago when he started buying its stock, Reuters said.

Apple Delays Shipment Of Its HomePod Smart Speaker

Apple's reputation as an efficient product design and manufacturing machine was tarnished a bit this week when the company said that its HomePod voice-activated smart speaker product, unveiled with much fanfare in June, won't be ready by December as promised.

Friday the company disclosed that HomePod would not ship until early 2018, meaning the product will miss the lucrative holiday season. Apple only said that it needed more time to finish developing the product, without providing any specifics.

The delay also means that Apple will lose that much more competitive ground to smart speaker products that are already on the market, including the Amazon Echo and Google Home, which together already have some 27 million devices in U.S. homes, according to a Bloomberg story.