Hedge fund bids on Novell; AMD expands partner program

Novell fields buyout offer; AMD adds software, VARs to Fusion; more headlines.

IT channel news in brief for March 3, 2010

Novell fields buyout offer

Novell is considering an unsolicited $2 billion buyout bid from a New York-based hedge fund.

Elliott Associates LP offered $5.75 per share after the market closed Tuesday.

Novell Inc., which pioneered the market for networking software with its NetWare franchise, lost much of its market share to Microsoft's Windows NT and Windows Server onslaught. Novell also pioneered a robust and rich VAR partner network by selling that software into small and medium-sized companies -- a reselling model Microsoft also co-opted.

Since Novell's buyout of SUSE in 2003, the company has fashioned itself into a Linux player. Sales have declined for the past six quarters, but Novell holds about $1 billion in cash.

AMD adds software, VARs to Fusion

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. is adding resellers of commercially-branded PCs and software to its official Fusion partner program.

The program, launched in September, previously covered white box systems builders that constructed their own branded systems out of components. "Now we're adding a robust set of partners that resell branded hardware like HP servers or Lenovo notebooks," said Gary Bixler director of worldwide channel for AMD.

AMD is also adding programmatic support for ISVs ranging from niche developers of video editing software to huge vendors like Microsoft and Adobe. ISVs "got benefits in the past, but there was no consistent headquarters-supported, well-defined partner program for them before. Now they have their own official track."

There are three tiers in each partner track: elite, premier and select. AMD expects to have about a dozen "elite" level commercial channel partners in North America, he said.

When Fusion launched last year, a primary goal was to encourage partners to use both AMD's processors and ATI graphics co-processors. Bixler said the company is pleased with its progress on that front.

He also maintained that with ISVs and commercial VARs joining the official program there will be opportunities to cross-promote their work. For example, AMD has built a toolkit to optimize Microsoft Hyper-V to work with AMD Opteron's on-chip virtualization technology. If these partners run promotions featuring that toolkit, they can get better-than-usual market development funds (MDF) from AMD, Bixler said.

SAP co-CEOs pledge faster product delivery

SAP's new co-CEOs Jim Hagemann Snabe and Bill McDermott are tackling one of the company's biggest problems -- getting products out faster.

Timely delivery of products (SAP Business ByDesign anyone?) has been a long-standing complaint of SAP customers.

In response, SAP developed a process in which teams of engineers work with customers to develop working iterations of software every four weeks. Speaking at CeBit, the co-CEOs also emphasized that SAP on-demand software will be prioritized going forward. SAP, which built its fortune on pricey on-premises ERP software, has been slammed for being slow to the Software-as-a-Service market.

Check out Monday's IT channel news in brief.

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