ShadowRam, March 27, 2006

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A recent meeting on operating-system features for Intel’s Viiv platform between Intel’s Don MacDonald, VP of the Digital Home unit, and Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer and Jim Allchin (of Vista client infamy) is even more curious given the recent Vista delay.

MacDonald went mano a mano with the Microsoft triumvirate to make sure Intel and Microsoft don’t duplicate operating-system features. Lo and behold, the Microsoft brass was annoyed and, at the same time, impressed by Intel’s software prowess.

“Right now, we actually have several areas of overlap between [Microsoft Media Center] and what Viiv does,” said MacDonald, noting there are some cases “where we prefer to use our software efforts and sometimes we’ll use Microsoft’s.” Maybe Microsoft should rely more on Intel developers and less on Microsoft developers.

Meanwhile, The ASCII Group, which now has about 2,000 VARs selling into small business, is up in arms about Microsoft’s decision to give retail giant Best Buy Gold partner status.

HP should stop pinning deadlines on its promotional discounts and just rely on a “while supplies last” timeline, an HP partner complained. Too many times now, the partner said, HP has stopped honoring rebates submitted before the official deadline for redemption because HP says the funds allocated dried up.

“I deal with a lot of government accounts, which are hard to renegotiate with. So if I price a job based on a rebate, and HP pulls the plug, then I take it in the pants,” the partner said.

Having witnessed a 100 percent increase in MSP customers in the past year, Derek Smith, a VP at TecServ, a $4 million Salt Lake City-based solution provider, is now seeing something else: a steady stream of unemployed IT admins.

“Too many of them used to work for the companies we now manage networks for,” said Smith, who added that TecServ has the advantage of knowing just how skilled these applicants are because it has gone in and fixed their broken networks. “It’s like we already have their permanent record on file,” he said.

Is Lenovo worldwide channel chief Mark Enzweiler about to take a walk? That’s the word on the street given the drumbeat from the company’s new CEO Bill Amelio.

Enzweiler maintains that the channel team remains intact after a corporate reorg and that reports of his demise “are greatly exaggerated,” to steal from Mark Twain. “We will continue to increase our investment in the channel,” said Enzweiler, adding that Lenovo is “delivering on our promise to drive efficiencies in our business, which will benefit our channels and end users.”

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