IT Channel News Briefs, Sept. 3

Today's headlines: Oracle makes ANOTHER acquisition, and Tech Data offers online VAR training.

News for the week of Sept. 1-5, 2008 -- in brief, updated daily, on topics important to the information technology (IT) channel.

Wednesday, Sept. 3

Oracle acquires ClearApp

Oracle is buying ClearApp, an application service management software maker based in Mountain View, Calif. ClearApp software helps companies monitor and manage applications that combine two or more service-oriented architecture (SOA)-based services, according to SearchOracle.com. Terms were not disclosed, but this acquisition is much smaller than many of Oracle's blockbuster deals, such as its $8.5 billion buyout of app server rival BEA Systems. That deal closed in April.

Tech Data boosts online VAR training

Tech Data and Element K are joining forces to offer thousands of online courses to value-added resellers (VARs). The courseware ranges from basic software application instruction to advanced network training, Tech Data said today. Some 4,000 Element K courses will now be part of TDEducation, Tech Data's vendor-authorized technical training program.

VARs can either take the courses themselves or resell them to their customers. The courses are delivered through Element K's Web-based Learning Management System KnowledgeHub. Businesses can then track user activity and performance and create custom curriculum.

SaaS success depends on technology

More and more security vendors are getting into Software as a Service (SaaS) as their medium-sized customers see it as an increasingly attractive option, according to Enterprise Strategy Group. Information Security magazine reported ESG's findings yesterday: More than one-third of 544 IT decision-makers surveyed said they're using SaaS in some capacity, and another 28% said they are likely to within the next two years.

Meanwhile, SearchSAP.com has taken a less optimistic look at enterprise resource planning (ERP) SaaS. Specifically, the question of whether ERP SaaS can be profitable has been popping up more frequently lately. SAP's CEOs said last week they delayed the launch of Business ByDesign because they haven't yet found a way to make it profitable. Days later, Lawson's CEO predicted the collapse of the SaaS industry. And Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has been raising the issue for years.

Microsoft has been toying with the idea of hosted ERP for a while now, but company executives have been sending mixed messages about its future.

Botnets mailing list revived

An Israeli researcher is reviving a mailing list for a group of researchers to share botnet information and prevent further attacks, SearchSecurity.com reported this week. Since researcher Gadi Evron, a former manager of the Israeli government CERT, revived the botnets mailing list, researchers have been actively sharing raw data. The list was initially successful two years ago, but it lost stream when participating researchers became wary of sharing their information in a public setting. Evron hopes things will be different this time around.

Tuesday, Sept. 2

Google browser due today

Internet Explorer controls more than 70% of the Web browser market, and Mozilla Firefox is gaining, but a new Google browser, Chrome, is about to shake things up. Google Chrome will be available for download today.

For many surfers, IE has been the de facto standard forever, but those with longer memories know that IE was an insurgent that took down the first superstar browser -- Netscape Navigator -- about a decade ago. Microsoft spent billions building a better browser, then distributed it free -- with its operating system -- on virtually every PC. Many think Google has a similar plan in mind with Chrome.

IE has already shown weakness, with Firefox's market share growing to nearly 20% over the past year. The fact that the browser wars have reignited shows that the browser -- rather than the operating system -- is where many PC users work and live.

Google is also adding video communications to its Google Apps Premier Edition, according to Reuters. Google Video for business will let companies share videos of speeches, meetings and training seminars among employees -- and just as importantly, it will protect the videos from unauthorized public disclosure. Free six-month trials will be available Sept. 8, after which businesses must pay an extra $10 per user per year. Google Apps Premier Edition costs $50 per user per year.

Former BT CEO takes over at Alcatel-Lucent

Alcatel-Lucent named former British Telecom (BT) CEO Ben Verwaayen as its new leader today, according to Reuters. Verwaayen and recently appointed chairman Philippe Camus will attempt to turn around the networking company, which has seen its value drop more than 60% in the two years since Alcatel and Lucent merged. Camus will replace Serge Tchuruk, and Verwaayen will replace Patricia Russo, who was one of the tech sector's few female CEOs. Verwaayen is largely credited with saving BT by pushing into networked IT services and broadband, which helped double the company's share price.

Sony Ericsson: Microsoft phone on track

Sony Ericsson squashed rumors that the rollout of its new Xperia 1 cellphone, powered by Microsoft's Windows Mobile, would be delayed and miss the Christmas sales period, Reuters reported. A number of tech blogs reported over the weekend that the product rollout would be held up, quoting sources inside the company. Sony Ericsson is joining a list of companies that have made phones using Windows Mobile; nevertheless, the software is struggling in the mobile market because of stiff competition from Research in Motion's BlackBerry and Apple's iPhone. Microsoft has won only about 10% of the mobile market.

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