IT Channel News Briefs, Jan. 25

News headlines for the week of Jan. 21:
  • Microsoft profits skyrocket.
  • HP's open source aides.
  • CIO decision making.
    News for the week of Jan. 21-25, 2008 -- in brief, updated daily, on topics important to the information technology (IT) channel.

    Friday, Jan. 25

    Vista helps lift Microsoft quarter

    The much maligned Windows Vista operating system has managed to sell 100 million units to date, helping lift Microsoft to a strong second quarter, the company said yesterday.

    For the quarter ending Dec. 31, Microsoft's client division saw sales rise nearly 70% from the year-ago quarter, to $4.34 billion. (Vista became broadly available in the first quarter of 2007.) Division profit went up a whopping 83% to $3.36 billion, and overall revenue was $16.37 billion, a 30% increase. The company logged net income of $4.71 billion (50 cents a share), up from $2.63 billion (26 cents per share) for last year's comparable period.

    For the full fiscal year ending in June, Microsoft executives said to expect revenue between $59.9 billion and $60.5 billion, profit between $24.2 billion and $24.4 billion and earnings per share in the $1.85 to $1.88 range.

    HP offers open source resources

    Hewlett-Packard is joining up with software vendors and the Linux Foundation to help businesses manage free and open source software (FOSS). Christine Martino, HP's vice president of open source and Linux, told SearchEnterpriseLinux.com that most companies underestimate how much open source they have in their environments -- which creates legal, financial and security risks. The new initiative includes FOSSology, a free toolset to help businesses find and track open source software on their networks, and FOSSBazaar, a set of online resources.

    CIOs most influenced by Wall Street

    Fortune 1,000 CIOs pay more attention to investment analysts than to their own employees when it comes to making technology decisions. A new study by Accenture found that CIOs and IT departments spend too much time maintaining legacy systems and trying to cut costs instead of "making fundamental changes to meet the growing demands of users," our sister site SearchCIO.com reports. The news means value-added resellers (VARs) could have a tough time selling major new products and projects this year, especially as fears of a recession rise.

    Cyberoam, Synnex sign distribution deal

    Unified threat management (UTM) vendor Cyberoam today announced a deal making Synnex its exclusive U.S. distributor. Synnex, a Fremont, Calif.-based business process company, will use its supply chain and product lifecycle services to support Cyberoam's value-added resellers (VARs), original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and software publishers, Cyberoam said. Cyberoam announced in October that it more than doubled its number of partners for a total of 60 and plans to eventually have 200 to 250.

    Thursday, Jan. 24

    Symantec eyes more acquisitions

    Symantec is still looking to acquire more companies. CEO John Thompson said Symantec's focus remains on securing and managing data, but the company could also make a move in the server management market, according to eWeek. Symantec's recent acquisitions include data leak prevention (DLP) vendor Vontu and systems management vendor Altiris. Company executives spent much of the past year addressing channel partners' concerns about the acquisitions and reassuring them that their big transformation period is over for now.

    CRM SaaS presents opportunities

    There are plenty of services opportunities for channel partners in the customer relationship management (CRM) market. Our colleagues at SearchCIO-Midmarket.com report that midmarket users will get the most out of CRM Software as a Service (SaaS) if it's integrated with their financial applications and back-end systems. CRM can offer significantly more integration opportunities than other kinds of SaaS, depending on each vendor's to-market strategy.

    Wednesday, Jan. 23

    Microsoft up, Apple down

    Increased demand for Windows and Office have analysts expecting a rise in profits when Microsoft announces its quarterly earnings Thursday, according to Reuters. The average prediction is a 66% increase to $4.35 billion, and strong personal computer sales are seen as the main driver. Global PC sales rose 15.5% in the last quarter of 2007, according to IDC.

    But things aren't so rosy over at Apple, where quarterly profits announced yesterday fell far short of expectations, according to the Associated Press. The company's stock price fell 11% after the announcement, which spurred fears among investors that Apple will struggle in 2008.

    Cisco addresses mobile speeds

    Cisco Systems yesterday announced the release of WAAS Mobile, an enterprise software client designed to accelerate mobile workers' access to applications, according to CNET. The release will add to Cisco's wide area application services (WAAS), which also help to improve speeds between headquarters and branch offices. The company said there is more demand for a product like WAAS Mobile because server consolidation projects cut the speed of client-server communications.

    Tuesday, Jan. 22

    EMC launches storage SaaS

    EMC has beaten its enterprise backup rival Symantec into the storage Software as a Service (SaaS) market. SearchStorage.com reports on the launch of Mozy Enterprise, EMC's new hosted data backup service for Windows. It's based on the Mozy service that EMC acquired from Berkeley Data Systems in October, but it's not intended for enterprise data backup and it could confuse customers of EMC's several other data protection offerings. Symantec announced its Online Backup Service in April, but it is still not yet available, and the trend toward more SaaS has some channel partners worrying about their changing roles.

    Microsoft buys Callista

    Microsoft had virtualization on the brain yesterday. The company announced it will acquire Callista Technologies for its graphical data compression and processing expertise. That technology should speed up the "remoting" of graphical applications from servers to desktops, Microsoft said. In addition, the company is working on a tool to help move virtual machines between Citrix Systems' XenServer and the new Hyper-V hypervisor in Windows Server 2008. And finally, Microsoft cut the price of Vista Enterprise Centralized Desktop -- which allows Vista to run from servers to desktops -- and loosened licensing so that all five Vista SKUs are now legally virtualized. Previously only the two business SKUs allowed virtualization.

    McAfee launches new DLP suite

    McAfee upped its play in the data loss prevention market yesterday with the launch of Total Protection for Data. The suite takes advantage of McAfee's fall acquisition of SafeBoot by combining that company's endpoint encryption and encrypted USB tokens with McAfee's own DLP products, according to our colleagues at Information Security magazine. Rising demand for DLP means strong sales and services opportunities for the channel, and McAfee Total Protection for Data marks the latest move toward a more integrated security market.

    Monday, Jan. 21

    iPhone to get corporate links

    IBM will try to bask in Apple's reflected glory this week with news that its Notes email client will run on Apple's popular consumer-oriented iPhone and iPod devices.

    The client software will require use of IBM's Domino server at the back end and will be free for users with Lotus Web access licenses, according to published reports. The news comes out of IBM's Lotusphere conference in Florida. IBM will also offer Lotus Symphony, a free productivity package for the Windows world, for the Macintosh.

    In related news, AT&T appears ready to announce corporate connectivity for the iPhone, several Web sites report. Such linkages would let business users check their work email from their cool device of choice.

    Arbor Networks to buy Ellacoya Networks

    Arbor Networks is buying Ellacoya Networks in a move aimed at merging security with broadband service optimization, according to our sister site SearchSecurity.com.

    Arbor's Peakflow appliances monitor carrier and service provider networks for distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, bots and worms. Ellacoya provides deep packet inspection (DPI) switches that let carriers manage broadband services down to the application and subscriber level.

    SaaS a slow sell in public sector

    While Software as a Service (SaaS) is making inroads in the private sector, public sector adoption has hardly kept pace. That was the message delivered at last week's SaaS/GOV 2008 conference. SaaS adoption by government agencies is slow, several conference speakers said, but they expect SaaS in the public sector to pick up steam because it is a way to deliver quality IT services in the face of shrinking IT budgets. The good news for service providers selling SaaS is this admission by Karen Evans from the Office of Electronic Government and Information Technology at the Office of Management and Budget: "Our track record is clear -- we are not very good at delivering our own software in the time frame set. We're also not very good at managing large projects."

    Top security interviews of 2007

    The security challenges service providers face early in 2008 are the same or similar to those from 2007. In a special podcast from our sister site SearchSecurity.com, you'll hear about the VoIP security concerns revealed at the annual Black Hat conference, information security pioneer Eugene Kaspersky on why malware developers liken themselves to weapons manufacturers and why some Vista security features have caused ongoing headaches for service providers. These insights will give you a greater sense of the security landscape as you put your 2008 business plan in place.

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