5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending Dec. 1

Topping this week's roundup of those having a rough week is Intel, which lost a key executive, the head of its Data Center Group, to Google.

Also making the list this week is HP for having to respond to reports that it installed "spyware" on some PCs; Apple, which scrambled to fix a significant bug in its High Sierra operating system; DXC Technology, which is losing a high-visibility insurance customer; and AOL, for service interruptions this week.

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.

Intel Loses Key Data Center Executive To Google

Intel was a loser in the battle for executive talent this week when Diane Bryant, the president of the chipmaker's Data Center Group, jumped ship to become the chief operating officer of Google's cloud business.

Intel has been counting on growth in its data center business, which generated $17 billion in revenue in 2016, to help offset the decline in processor sales for PCs. Bryant worked to expand the data center business beyond its server-centric roots to include network and storage systems.

Bryant joins a growing list of top-level executives who have departed from Intel in the last year.

HP Scrambles To Rebut Media Reports Of Installed Spyware

HP Inc. executives denied media reports this week that a software update on some PCs secretly installed a spyware program that transmits usage data to the company without permission.

Company executives said the software, HP Touchpoint Analytics, has been around for years and emphasized that users must opt-in to enable any sharing of usage data with HP. The software collects diagnostic data on PC hardware and software usage.

"There are some very specific definitions of spyware, and what spyware does, and this is not that," said Mike Nash, HP vice president of customer experience for personal systems, in an interview with CRN.

Several media reports, including on the Engadget and ExtremeTech websites, reported that HP was installing "spyware" on some of its Windows 10 PCs.

Apple Scrambles To Fix High Sierra OS Bug

Security engineers at Apple rushed this week to develop and release an emergency patch to fix a severe login bug in the vendor's High Sierra operating system. The patch was released on Wednesday.

The vulnerability, which came to light Tuesday, according to a story on Threatpost, gives anyone with physical access to a computer running the latest version of the macOS (10.13.1) administrative access just by typing "root" in the username field.

Apple, according to Threatpost, issued a statement acknowledging that it "stumbled with this release of macOS" and apologized to Mac users, "both for releasing this vulnerability and for the concern it has caused. Our customers deserve better." Apple said it is investigating its development processes to prevent such errors from occurring again.

DXC Technology Losing Insurance Giant As A Customer

Solution provider giant DXC Technology is losing Aviva, the London-based multinational insurance giant and biggest general insurance company in the U.K., as a customer, according to a report on The Register website.

Aviva instead is turning to solution provider Atos to replace DXC as the sole supplier of data center hosting services. The switch is scheduled to occur in June 2019 when Aviva's current contract with DXC runs out.

Aviva originally signed a 10-year contract with EDS in 2009, then owned by Hewlett Packard Co., in a deal valued at 1 billion British Pounds (about $1.35 billion). The EDS operation eventually became Hewlett Packard Enterprise's enterprise services operation, which was spun off and merged with CSC earlier this year to create DXC Technology.

The Register said Aviva has not disclosed why it is making the switch. Aviva is signing a five-year contract with Atos, value undisclosed.

AOL (And Its Customers) Suffer Through Ongoing Service Interruptions

AOL suffered significant service outages on Tuesday with many of the web portal company's customers around the U.S. reporting that the company's Internet and email services were unavailable.

Many reported getting "Bad Gateway 502" and "Bad Gateway 504" error messages when they tried to log onto the Web portal.

The Down Detector website said the problems began around 9:00 a.m. Tuesday with users in major cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Tampa and Washington D.C. reporting problems. Other service problems cropped up on Thursday as well.

AOL, now part of Verizon's Oath subsidiary, said it was working on the problems, but never disclosed the cause.