Acer embraces Android; NetApp updates partner program: News in brief

Acer jumps on Android bandwagon; NetApp fields new portal.

IT channel news in brief for June 10, 2009

Acer joins the Android crowd

Acer will sell netbooks with the Google Android operating system. Among other top-tier PC makers, Dell and Hewlett-Packard have said they might offer some Android-bearing netbooks, but Acer has promised to have machines out running the OS in the third quarter.

Acer Inc., the world's third largest PC maker, announced the news at Computex Taipei in Taiwan this week.

"Netbooks are designed to be compact in size and easy to connect to the Internet wherever you go," Jim Wong, Acer's president of IT products global operation, said in a statement. "The Android operating system offers incredibly fast wireless connection to the Internet; for this reason, Acer has decided to develop Android netbooks for added convenience to our customers."

It's beginning to look like Android, a Linux derivative from Google, will have an impact on Microsoft's Windows juggernaut, if only to give hardware OEMs leverage to force down Windows 7 licensing costs. Android is free. Still, some skeptics say Android, designed for cell phones, has yet to prove itself on larger screens.

NetApp updates partner program

Storage appliance maker NetApp now offers a single portal for accessing product information, sales tools and marketing support. "It's one portal for all partners and for NetApp … set up by role and function, so depending on your job responsibility you will see what's of interest to you," said Todd Palmer, vice president of Americas channel sales, for NetApp. Partners can also use (and re-brand if needed) NetApp marketing campaigns and other material.

"If you go into the portal and find a success story, you can take it and email it directly to prospects from the field portal," Palmer said.

The company is also testing a technical help desk that will backstop partner sales efforts. "If a partner is in an account and runs into an issue, they can call in and access highly skilled technical resources on the phone all day long," Baker said.

NetApp fields about 1,000 partners in North America, about 4% of which are in the highest level "Star" tier. Eight percent are Platinum, 46% Gold and 39% Silver, the company said.

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