This week’s IT-related “ooftas” was a mixed bag, starting out with yesterday’s “fat-finger” mistake by R. R. Donnelley & Sons, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) financial reporting filing agent for Google. Donnelley accidentally filed Google’s quarterly report some three hours before NASDAQ stock exchange trading ended instead of after the exchange had closed, the New York Times reported. Google’s report, which showed an unexpectedly large fall in earnings, led to a loss in Google’s stock price of nearly 8% by the end of the trading day. At one point, Google’s stock fell so much that trading on it was temporarily suspended.
Although Google’s market capitalization dropped by $22 billion at one point, with its stock price at about $695 per share, no one is worried about the company’s immediate future – in fact, some analysts are seeing the mistake as creating a buying opportunity, the Wall Street Journal noted.
Knight Capital announced mid-week a quarterly loss of $389.9 millionas a result of a bigger than estimated loss on its zombie trading algorithm debacle in early August, Bloomberg News reported. Knight thought the 45-minute or so trading fiasco would result in it taking a $440 million hit; instead it resulted in a $457.6 million loss. Knight had to seek $400 million in financial help to stay solvent. It's stock has remained in the doldrums since the fiasco, trading at about $2.60 a share as compared to the $10.33 before.
Ford also announced mid-week a recall of 262 000 Ford Fiestas built in Mexico between 3 November 2009 to 21 September 2012 and sold in North and South America. According to CarScoop, Ford discovered that “the curtain air bag on the passenger side will not deploy in some crashes when the front passenger seat is empty, thus increasing the risk of injury to the right rear occupant in the event of a side impact collision.”
Ford says it will be reprogramming its Fiesta’s Restrain Control Module (pdf) to fix the problem. Some 154 000 of the vehicles were sold in the U.S.
And in a glitch from last weekend, a Frenchwoman claimed that she received a final telephone bill for €11 721 000 000 000 000.00 from Bouygues Telecom after closing her account. According to a BBC News account, the phone company initially told the woman when she inquired about the bill that “there was nothing they could do to amend the computer-generated statement and later offered to set up installments to pay off the bill.”
The phone company eventually admitted that she owed only €117.21, and that the mistaken bill was due to a printing error. They apologized and decided to waive the amount owed, apparently because of the unsympathetic customer service advice she received.
What kind of surprises me is that the printing software would allow for so many digits to be printed in the first place. Or is Bouygues Telecom just planning ahead for runaway euro inflation in the EU?
Robert N. Charette is a Contributing Editor to IEEE Spectrum and an acknowledged international authority on information technology and systems risk management. A self-described “risk ecologist,” he is interested in the intersections of business, political, technological, and societal risks. Charette is an award-winning author of multiple books and numerous articles on the subjects of risk management, project and program management, innovation, and entrepreneurship. A Life Senior Member of the IEEE, Charette was a recipient of the IEEE Computer Society’s Golden Core Award in 2008.