5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending March 30

Topping this week's roundup of those having a rough week is Facebook, which is still dealing with the fallout from the revelation that a data research firm improperly accessed and used personal information on 50 million Facebook users. This week the Federal Trade Commission disclosed that it has launched an investigation into the case.

Also making the list this week are SAP for having to discontinue its failed SAP Anywhere cloud product for small businesses, Amazon's huge loss in market capitalization following a published story that President Trump is "obsessed" with the company, CACI's failed bid to acquire CSRA, and Google's legal loss in the latest round of its copyright infringement battle with Oracle.

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.

Facebook's Data Practices Face FTC Investigation

The Federal Trade Commission confirmed this week that it is investigating Facebook and how it handles user data -- the latest repercussions from the scandal that erupted last week on the news that research firm Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed and used personal information on more than 50 million Facebook users.

The investigation will include the possibility that Facebook violated a consent decree the social media giant signed with the FTC in 2011, promising to safeguard users' personal information, according to a Bloomberg story.

Bloomberg reported that the FTC could fine Facebook up to $40,000 per violation, per day. With millions of users involved, that could mean fines in the hundreds of millions of dollars, according to the report.

Attorneys general for a number of states were also launching investigations into Facebook's data privacy practices while Cook County in Illinois, which includes Chicago, filed a lawsuit charging Facebook and Cambridge Analytica with fraud, according to a San Francisco Chronicle story.

SAP Shuts Down SAP Anywhere Cloud Applications With Only 30 Active Customers

SAP this week acknowledged that its SAP Anywhere cloud applications for small businesses have been a bust and said it is shutting down the service.

Unveiled with great fanfare at SAP's Sapphire conference three years ago, the Anywhere front-office applications was a major effort by the company to expand its presence in the small-business market.

But after two years of being available in the U.S., the company said this week that only about 30 active customers were using the software with another 25 or so subscribers who had not used the service for some time.

SAP will try to migrate those customers over to other SAP products, primarily SAP Business One and SAP Business ByDesign.

Amazon Loses More Than $50B In Market Cap On Report Trump Is 'Obsessed' With The Company

Facebook wasn't the only internet giant fighting bad publicity this week. Amazon lost $53 billion in market capitalization Wednesday when a published report described President Donald Trump as being "obsessed" with the company.

Online news site Axios also reported in a story that Trump harbors "deep-seated antipathy" toward Amazon and has talked about going after the company on tax or antitrust grounds.

The result: Amazon's stock plunged more than 7 percent Wednesday afternoon, erasing $53 billion in Amazon's market cap.

CACI Walks Away From $7.2B Bid To Buy CSRA

CACI this week abandoned its effort to buy fellow U.S. government solution provider CSRA for $44 a share, a total price tag of $7.2 billion, leaving the field open for General Dynamics to buy CSRA.

While General Dynamics had earlier offered $9.6 million to acquire CSRA, CACI argued that a CACI-CSRA was superior both financially and strategically. (CACI offered to pay more per share, but General Dynamics' bid had a higher value because of its willingness to assume $2.8 billion in CSRA debt.)

But CSRA's bid never gained traction and General Dynamics boosted its offer by 50 cents per share, boosting the total value of its offer to $9.7 billion. This week CSRA shelved its bid, vowing to look elsewhere for other acquisition opportunities.

Google Loses Latest Round In Legal Battle With Oracle Over Java Copyrights

A federal appellate court ruled against Google this week in its long-running legal battle with Oracle over Java copyrights, reversing an earlier jury verdict that found Google had not infringed on Oracle's intellectual property by using Java APIs in the Android mobile operating system.

Oracle originally sought $9 billion in damages when it filed the lawsuit in 2010 and the case has dragged on for eight years with jury verdicts and court rulings seesawing back and forth. The case has been closely watched as something of a litmus test on whether APIs can be copyrighted.

In 2016 Google won a jury verdict that said the company legally used Java to develop Android and did not infringe on Oracle's intellectual property. But this week the federal appeals court overturned that verdict, ruling that the fair-use provision that allows some copyrighted material to be used without paying royalties didn't apply.

The court sent the case back to the lower court for a new trial to determine how much Google owes Oracle.