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5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

For the week ending Oct. 5, CRN looks at IT companies that were unfortunate, unsuccessful or just didn't make good decisions.

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The Week Ending Oct. 5

Topping this week's roundup of those having a rough week is Google, which may face an investigation in the U.S. on the same anti-trust issues that resulted in a $5.1 billion fine from the European Commission.

Also making the list this week are Apple and Amazon Web Services, which had to respond to a report that they operated servers that contained backdoor spy chips implanted by China. Making the list as well were Microsoft for reports of problems with its latest Windows 10 upgrade, Rethink Robotics for going out of business, and SAP for losing a court case involving unpaid commissions to a former employee.

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.

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Google's Android Business May Come Under Scrutiny By U.S. Regulators

Earlier this year European Commission regulators slapped Google with a $5.1 billion fine, saying the company's search engine practices—including allegedly imposing restrictions on Android device makers and mobile network operators— constituted anti-competitive behavior.

Now Google could face similar scrutiny from the U.S. Justice Department.

Regulators with the Justice Department's Antitrust Division told senators at a hearing this week that they could consider a similar investigation, according to a report in the New York Post.

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AWS, Apple Deny Report On Chinese Server Infiltration

Amazon Web Services and Apple scrambled this week to issue rebuttals to a published report that said Chinese spies implanted servers, later used by the companies, with malicious hardware.

A Bloomberg report alleged that server motherboards made by San Jose, Calif.-based Supermicro were implanted with backdoor microchips that were intended to steal sensitive data for China.

The compromised hardware ended up at AWS, Apple and other companies and was discovered by the companies through their own investigations, according to the report.

Amazon, Apple and Supermicro all issued lengthy statements vehemently denying the Bloomberg report.

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Microsoft Faces Reports Of Deleted Files, Other Problems With Windows 10 Upgrade

Microsoft was dealing with reports that the 1809 upgrade of Windows 10, issued earlier in the week, was deleting some users' documents, including photos and music.

Multiple sites, including Forbes and DigitalTrends, as well as social media sites and Microsoft's user forum, carried reports of users losing documents when the upgrade installed itself. The glitch appears to delete documents in the user directory that have not been stored on OneDrive, according to the reports.

Multiple sites issued warnings for users to back up their data and even disable Windows automatic updates until Microsoft issues a fix.

In addition to the deleted files issue, there were reports that the Windows 10 upgrade created compatibility problems with a number of Intel display audio drivers. That can increase CPU usage and cut into battery life.

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Rethink Robotics Suddenly Closes Its Doors

The robotics and automation industry was shaken up this week when Rethink Robotics, a pioneering developer of "collaborative" robots designed to work alongside humans on shop floors, in warehouse and in other workspaces, suddenly ceased operations.

Boston-based Rethink had reportedly been working on a deal to be acquired by another unnamed company, but the plan fell through, according to a story in the Boston Globe .

The story said the company faced a cash crunch when sales of its Baxter and Sawyer robots failed to meet expectations.

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SAP Owes Former Sales Rep More Than $600,000: Jury Verdict

SAP has to pay a former sales representative $662,200 in back commissions, lost pay and damages following a five-day trial in U.S. District Court in Boston.

The sales representative, Steven Serabian, claimed the company owed him the commissions and then fired him when he complained when he wasn't paid, according to a story published by The Register.

SAP maintained that it did not owe Serabian anything, according to the company's court filing. But the jury verdict concluded that SAP owed the former employee $535,000 in unpaid commissions, $120,000 in lost pay and benefits, and $7,200 in damages for "emotional distress caused by unlawful retaliation."

 
 
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