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IT Channel News Briefs, Sept. 4

NEC's bringing its Japanese servers stateside, Yahoo and Verizon extend their portal deal, and Microsoft's virtual desktop plan highlights Citrix.

Information technology (IT) channel news in brief for Thursday, Sept. 4, 2008.

NEC imports new servers

Hardware giant NEC Corp. has opened its Japanese server hardware portfolio to the North American market and has included new servers designed for virtualization. With NEC's entry into the North American x86 server market, channel players and IT managers have another major vendor to choose from among the usual suspects: Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Dell and Sun Microsystems, according to In mid-June, NEC America signed distributor Synnex to bolster a renewed push -- of servers, storage and enterprise software -- into the U.S. market.

Yahoo, Verizon extend portal deal

Yahoo extended its deal with Verizon Communications, making a co-branded Yahoo-Verizon portal the first choice of a home screen for Verizon broadband subscribers, The Wall Street Journal reported today.

Yahoo and Verizon have had a similar partnership since 2005, but the terms of this deal are different. Previously, Yahoo was paid based on the number of subscribers that used the portal, and the companies shared ad and premium service revenue. Under the new deal, Verizon will not pay Yahoo based on subscriber usage.

Verizon is also in talks to make Google the default search provider for all Verizon cell phones. That deal could ultimately put Google in the position to be one of the portal options for Verizon broadband subscribers, as well as making it a search engine on Verizon's FiOS TV service.

Microsoft, Citrix team up on virtual desktops

A week after buddy Citrix Systems disclosed its application virtualization plans, Microsoft detailed its own virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) strategy, featuring Citrix in a lead role. Microsoft will release to manufacturing the System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) this week, according to After that, Citrix and Microsoft will offer a joint VDI suite sometime this quarter.

The VDI product will include Citrix XenDesktop 2.1, which includes the Citrix connection broker, running on Hyper-V, Microsoft VMM and other System Center products. (Microsoft has decided not to build it own broker.) It's unclear how Microsoft and Citrix will rationalize overlaps in their respective product lines when they debut the VDI suite. Both companies sell application and server virtualization products and terminal services on their own.

Novell releases GroupWise beta

Novell yesterday released the open beta version of its GroupWise collaboration software. GroupWise combines traditional productivity applications, including email and calendars, with wikis, blogs, RSS feeds and other Web 2.0 technologies. The software runs on Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems, as well as online platforms and mobile devices (including the iPhone). GroupWise is available as a free download on Novell's website.

Economy won't hurt security spending

Security spending will not suffer despite tough macroeconomic times, Forrester Research analyst Khalid Kark told in an interview this week. Very few vertical markets have decreased spending, although some businesses have simply avoided increasing their budgets, he said.

Organizations are scrutinizing their budgets more, but security spending remains a priority because companies are terrified to end up with a high-profile security breach on their hands.

"Because of the recently published security breaches, they've been able to get the point across that if we don't spend on security, we'll be on the front page of the newspaper," Kark said.

Oracle support gets support

Oracle is bringing in reinforcements for its Unbreakable Linux support program. Alternative Technology, part of Arrow Electronics Inc., can now resell Oracle Unbreakable Linux Support. Englewood, Colo.-based Alternative Technology will make the offering available to channel partners that want to provide critical support for the Oracle database, Fusion middleware, E-Business Suite and Oracle Enterprise Linux. The support will also cover compatible Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Alternative Technology said.

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