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IT Channel News Briefs, Sept. 22

Today's headlines: McAfee buys Secure Computing; Microsoft buys back stock; Oracle names Titan award winners.

Information technology (IT) channel news in brief for Monday, Sept. 22, 2008.

McAfee to acquire Secure Computing

McAfee will acquire Secure Computing in a $465 million deal that will strengthen its network security portfolio, the Wall Street Journal reported today. McAfee will pay $5.75 per common share for Secure Computing -- a 27% premium over Friday's closing price. Secure's shares have slumped 53% this year and were trading at $5.75 as recently as this spring. McAfee said the addition of Secure's Web, email and network protection will give it the industry's most complete network security portfolio. The deal is expected to close at the end of the fourth quarter.

Microsoft board gives green light on stock buyback

Microsoft's board authorized a buyback of $40 billion in stock, boosting its shares more than 5% in premarket trading, CNET reported today. This buyback follows one in 2004, when Microsoft said it would repurchase up to $30 billion in stock over four years, but that number grew to $40 billion. As a result, Microsoft has returned $115 billion to shareholders through buybacks and dividends. That's a consolation for shareholders since Microsoft's stock has traded below $30 for more over six years. This has been a particularly rough year, with Microsoft's shares losing about 22% of their value since the failed Yahoo bid.

"These announcements illustrate our confidence in the long-term growth of the company and our commitment to returning capital to our shareholders," said Chris Liddell, chief financial officer of Microsoft, in a statement. Microsoft also announced plans to pay a 13-cent quarterly dividend, which is 18% higher than the previous quarter.

Oracle honors partners

The big winners of Oracle's annual Titan Awards include Deloitte Consulting for the best E-Business Suite solution and Hitachi Consulting Corp. for new Edge Applications solution.

Deloitte designed a solution integrating Oracle Configurator, Demantra Demand Planning, Oracle Transportation Management (OTM) and Identity Management, which may save the user $140 million in operating costs over 10 years, according to Oracle. Deloitte won four awards overall. Hitachi knit OTM into a migration to overall Oracle infrastructure.

Winner for the best PeopleSoft solution was CherryRoad Technologies, which implemented a new ERP system at a county sheriff's department.

TUSC won for best grid and real application clustering (RAC) solution in an implementation that also used Enterprise Manager, DataGuard and Automated Storage Management.

LS Technologies LLC won best content management solution for a retail customer. The solution also integrated with PeopleSoft back-end systems.

The awards, which gauged work by North American partners, were presented at an Oracle OpenWorld event Sunday night.

TreeHouse makes CRM into PRM

TreeHouse Interactive on Monday said its Reseller View PRM product is being integrated with Oracle CRM On Demand. That means CRM On Demand customers can build their own feature-rich partner portals for their own partner networks, according to the company. TreeHouse, based in Draper, Utah, is showing the integration at Oracle OpenWorld this week in San Francisco.

Data center network market to see healthy growth

Research firm IDC predicts the data center network market will grow 6% annually, reaching $11.9 billion in 2012. That market was at $8.7 billion in 2007, up from $7.6 billion in 2006, according to IDC's Worldwide Datacenter Network 2008-2012 Forecast announced today. Customer migration to virtualized dense computing in the data center will spur this growth, according to the report. "Our research shows that the datacenter network has an important and unprecedented role to play in the data center of the future as infrastructure changes, such as multicore processors and server virtualization combined with fundamental changes in utility cost structures, drive a shift in the very nature of data center buildouts, " said Lucinda Borovick, IDC research vice president of data center networks.

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