5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending Oct. 13

Topping this week's roundup of those having a rough week is Accenture, which this week found itself in the embarrassing position of having to answer for leaving private data unprotected on Amazon Web Services servers.

Also making the list this week are Lenovo, for its declining sales and shrinking market share in the U.S. PC market; Samsung, for the resignation of its CEO amid its ongoing leadership upheavals; Qualcomm, for getting hit with a $774 million fine by Taiwan antitrust regulators; and Google, for an embarrassing glitch with its soon-to-ship Google Home Mini.

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.

Accenture The Latest Company To Leave Critical Data Exposed On AWS Server

Accenture, which has been ramping up its own security practice in the last two years, this week found itself in the embarrassing position of having to explain why it left private data unprotected on Amazon Web Services servers.

In a blog post on Tuesday, the UpGuard Cyber Risk Team said it had found multiple AWS S3 storage systems left unsecured by Accenture. The servers were configured for public access and publicly downloadable.

UpGuard said the four servers in question appeared to be related to software used for the Accenture Cloud Platform and included data about the cloud platform's inner workings and clients who used the platform. The unsecured data included secret API information, authentication credentials, certificates, decryption keys, customer information and "data that could have been used to attack both Accenture and its clients," the UpGuard blog post said.

Accenture told CRN that there was no evidence that any client information was compromised because other security protections would prevent it.

Lenovo Falls To No. 4 In U.S. PC Market

The numbers for the U.S. PC market in the third quarter are out, and it is not a pretty picture for Lenovo.

The overall U.S. PC market declined more than 10 percent in the quarter, according to statistics from market researcher Gartner. The figures also indicate a steep drop in U.S. PC shipments for Lenovo as the Beijing, China, manufacturer lost market share to competitors HP Inc., Dell and Apple. Lenovo, which had been the No. 3 supplier of desktop and laptop computers in the U.S., lost that position to Apple.

Lenovo's U.S. PC shipments plunged more than 25 percent in the third quarter, the steepest year-over-year decline since Lenovo acquired IBM's PC business in 2005. While all leading PC vendors suffered some decline in sales in the quarter, none were as steep as Lenovo's. HP Inc., Dell and Apple nominally increased their market share while Lenovo lost share.

Lenovo recently acknowledged that increasing memory and component costs had prompted it to adjust PC distribution pricing and decrease back-end rebates to keep prices stable and encourage partners to sell higher-end machines. However, partners told CRN that those moves would cut their margins and push them toward selling PCs from other vendors.

Samsung CEO Stepping Down After 'Unprecedented Crisis.'

It was a tough week for industry giant Samsung, which has been undergoing a leadership upheaval in recent months, and an even tougher one for CEO and vice chairman Kwon Oh-hyun, who announced this week that he is stepping down in March.

Kwon's resignation follows the August sentencing of Samsung's de facto leader, Jay Y. Lee, to five years in prison in connection with a bribery scandal that also toppled South Korea's former president, Park Geun-hye.

Kwon said that Samsung "needs a new leader more than ever," and seemed to allude to the bribery scandal in announcing his reasons for resigning. "As we are confronted with unprecedented crisis inside out, I believe that time has now come for the company [to] start anew, with a new spirit and young leadership to better respond to challenges arising from the rapidly changing IT industry," he said in a Samsung statement.

Qualcomm Hit With $774 Million Antitrust Fine In Taiwan

Antitrust regulators in Taiwan hit chipmaker Qualcomm with a NT$23.4 billion (about U.S. $774 million) fine this week, charging that Qualcomm had an illegal monopoly in the Taiwan market for mobile communications chip technologies.

Qualcomm's chips provide wireless data connectivity for mobile phones, and Taiwan regulators charged that the company has refused to license the technology to other companies, according to a Reuters story.

The Taiwan Fair Trade Commission levied the fine against Qualcomm this week after concluding that the company violated the country's antitrust laws by refusing to provide products and license technology to customers that refuse to agree with its conditions, according to a Financial Times story. Regulators said Qualcomm has been violating the antitrust rules for at least seven years.

In a statement, Qualcomm said it disagreed with the ruling. Qualcomm is also facing penalties for alleged antitrust activity in Europe, China and South Korea.

Google Disables Feature On Its Mini Home Speaker After It Eavesdropped On Users

Google scrambled this week to disable a feature on its upcoming Google Home Mini smart speaker after reviewers discovered that it was recording conversations without users being aware it was doing so.

The Google Home Mini is slated to ship Oct. 19. However, this week a product reviewer, Android Police blogger Artem Russakovskii, discovered that the device had saved recordings at times when the wake command "OK Google" was not used. Russakovskii wrote in a blog that the device was "inadvertently spying" on him due to a hardware flaw, according to a CNN Tech story.

Google said the embarrassing problem stemmed from a fault with the "touchpad" or activation button and this week quickly issued a software update that permanently disables the touchpad. The company is now working on a long-term fix.