5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending July 29

Topping this week's roundup of companies that had a rough week was Microsoft and employees in its mobile phone operation that continue to endure layoffs and cutbacks.

Also making the list were Apple, which is seeing its share of the global smartphone market slowly erode; password management software developer LastPass; which scrambled this week to fix a critical vulnerability; Verizon, for its decidedly mixed Q2 financial results; and Nest, for an application error that cut online access to its Web-enabled thermostats.

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.

Microsoft Slashes 2,850 Jobs In Mobile Division And Global Sales Organization

The news from Microsoft's mobile division just keeps getting worse. Friday Microsoft said it would cut 2,850 jobs as the next phase of its plan to restructure the company. Many of those jobs are in the company's smartphone hardware business, but some are also in its global sales organization.

The layoffs are on top of the 1,850 job cuts the company announced in May. The latest round of cuts was disclosed in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

It's been a tough year for Microsoft employees in its smartphone business as the company seeks to essentially undo much of its 2014 acquisition of Nokia's phone business.

Apple iPhone Sales Tumble, Lose Market Share To Samsung

Apple reported its fiscal 2016 third quarter results this week. And the news wasn't good for the company's once-high-flying iPhone business.

IPhone sales in the quarter declined more than 23 percent to $24.04 billion compared to $31.37 billion one year earlier. And iPhone unit shipments in the quarter dropped 15 percent to 40.4 million from 47.5 million one year ago.

Samsung, meanwhile, said sales in its mobile division were up 2 percent year over year to $23.58 billion. Division profits spiked 56 percent to $3.83 billion. And IDC estimated that Samsung shipped 77 million units in the quarter, up 5.5 percent from 73 million one year before.

The result was that Samsung grew its share of the global smartphone market to 22.4 percent in the second quarter (up from 21.3 percent a year earlier). while Apple's share fell to 11.8 percent from 13.9 percent the year before.

Vulnerability In LastPass Password Manager Opened Tool To Hijackers

A flaw in the password manager LastPass, discovered this week by a Google researcher, potentially allowed an attacker to hijack the software and collect user passwords.

The popular software is supposed to securely store and autofill passwords users have for different sites, noted a PCWorld story. That means such a vulnerability could pose a big risk for users, the story said.

LastPass, in a posting on Wednesday, said it had issued a security update for all Firefox users using LastPass 4.0.

Verizon Q2 Results Hit By Strike, Business Segment Revenue Downturn

Telecommunications giant Verizon reported less-than-stellar financial results for its second quarter this week, including a whopping 81 percent plunge in net income.

The company reported a year-over-year revenue decline of more than 5 percent to $30.53 billion. The company's business segment revenue continued its downward trend, while Global Enterprise revenue in the wireline segment was down 3.3 percent and Global Wholesale revenue dropped 4.1 percent.

The company also said the nearly two-month employee strike during the quarter negatively impacted wireline operating income, with an operating loss of $463 million.

App Error Knocks Some Nest Home Thermostats Offline

Nest, the maker of home automation devices, took some heat this week when a problem with the Nest application that connects the company's internet-connected thermostats and smoke detectors made the devices appear to be offline.

That meant that homeowners were unable to remotely control the devices, noted a story on The Verge website. Reports of the outage pointed out that it came at a bad time with some parts of the U.S. suffering through a heat wave.

Nest said that only a small percentage of homeowners were impacted by the problem and that the devices continued to function on pre-set schedules and could be adjusted manually. But the outage demonstrated the potential pitfalls of relying too heavily on smart home devices.