The CRN Test Center: Your Independent Laboratory

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Evaluating products and technologies properly can make the difference between success and failure for a solution provider's business. Whether they're reselling, recommending, installing or repairing anything from a laptop to an enterprise messaging solution, solution providers need products that not only get the job done technically and that interoperate with all a customers' systems, but that also make business sense for the solution provider. For that, the CRN Test Center provides invaluable assistance.

When the Test Center tries out a new product or runs a major comparative review, they're not only evaluating a products' technical capabilities, they're checking into issues such as margins, availability, return policies, solution provider support and distribution channels.

Last week, the Test Center unveiled a new look for 2002, designed to provide more information in each current review, as well as better access to the complete Test Center archives. Spearheaded by ChannelWeb's Brad Baymack (himself a former Test Center editor, and still occasional reviewer) the redesign provides access to over 50 large-scale comparative reviews, hundreds of Sneak Peak and Techie News articles, downloadable benchmarking tools, the edit and trade show calendars for the Test Center, and access to the Test Center Tech library, containing thousands of analysis and white papers from technology vendor companies, academics and analysts.

Vendors, Earnings In The News

I was sidlined Friday with a winter cold, preventing me from describing the following channel developments in a more timely fashion:

Intel announced Paul Otellini's promotion to president and COO, announced their fourth-quarter results and provided some insight into their 2002 plans.

Microsoft's long-awaited Rules Of Engagement came out. In his typical direct manner, Bob Faletra calls them the Rules Of Displacement. Similarly, CRN's Steve Burke takes a look at Oracle's new rules.

Economic Silver Lining

In a new report, Gartner says the economic slowdown will lead to an increase in corporate spending on outsourcing. Solution providers with broad services and staying power will be the ones to reap the benefits.

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