Briefs: August 7, 2006


Also, Tamra Muir, Tech Data's vice president of software product marketing, announced she was leaving the company Aug. 9 to take a position with an unnamed vendor. When Muir resigned, she granted interviews to discuss her departure, accompanied by Bob O'Malley, senior vice president of marketing. Tech Data executives declined interview requests regarding Ducatelli's exit.

Ducatelli, a former senior vice president of business development at CompuCom Systems, a $1.7-billion solution provider, joined Tech Data in February 2005 when he replaced Terry Bazzone, who retired.

Meanwhile, Tech Data reported that it would not meet analysts' revenue and earnings expectations for the second fiscal quarter ended July 31. The company cited continuing challenges in Europe as a reason.

Toshiba has changed its contractual terms and conditions with Insight Enterprises, moving the company from a distribution agreement to a direct market reseller pact.

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The change effectively eliminates PC Wholesale, which is owned by Insight, as an authorized distributor of Toshiba notebook products, effective July 1.

"Toshiba made channel changes with regard to their program and we had a choice between a distributor or reseller agreement," said David Casillo, senior vice president of product management for Insight. "We selected the reseller agreement. We will continue to purchase Toshiba product as a reseller both direct from Toshiba and with distribution partners as needed."

The change effectively prevents Insight from obtaining better Toshiba pricing and market development fund (MDF) terms than rival direct marketers or resellers. That, however, was not the catalyst for the change, said Jerry Lumpkin, vice president of business channel sales for Toshiba's Digital Products Division. "We wanted to focus our resources on Insight, which is the largest piece of the business and very strategic to Toshiba's channel strategy," he said.

IBM on Thursday unveiled a $740-million deal to buy MRO Software, an asset and service management technology developer.

The deal, intended to fill out IBM's portfolio of service-oriented architecture products, is the second SOA-motivated acquisition that the IT giant announced last week. Last Wednesday, IBM said it's buying SOA developer Webify Solutions.

MRO has been in business for nearly 40 years and has been a close IBM partner for the past decade. MRO specializes in serving industries such as energy, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and aerospace/defense. MRO's flagship Maximo Enterprise Suite (MXES) product helps clients track assets like production equipment, facilities and IT hardware.

The company views the MRO acquisition as an SOA play because the Maximo software has a WS-I-compliant framework, allowing customers to build around Web services components generated for each business process in the suite.

IBM Global Services plans to draw on MRO's technology in its client projects, and IBM Tivoli General Manager Al Zollar called the deal "indicative of the growing partnership between IBM's software and services."

MRO has a staff of 900, and company executives said they expect most employees to join IBM. Plans call for MRO CEO Chip Drapeau to stay with IBM as part of Zollar's team and, in the near future, for MRO to operate as a unit of IBM's Tivoli division.

MRO had revenue of $199.2 million for its last fiscal year, ended Sept. 30. IBM expects the MRO acquisition to close next quarter.

As it preps the first Windows Vista release candidate for delivery by the end of the quarter, Microsoft has announced that Brian Valentine, senior vice president of the Windows Core Operating System Division (COSD)—who has been leading the Windows client group since 1998—will be reassigned to a new role at the software giant after Vista is released to manufacturing (RTM).

Leading the Windows client charge after Vista will be Jon DeVaan, who immediately joins Microsoft's Platforms and Services Division as senior vice president of engineering. DeVaan will co-lead the COSD with Brian Valentine until Vista RTMs, which is expected in November.

The changes follow a broad restructuring of the Platforms and Services Division last March. At that time, Microsoft said Valentine would continue to run the COSD.

Microsoft also announced that it will shift key engineering talent from the Windows division to focus on the Live software-as-a-service platform being spearheaded by Microsoft's newly named chief software architect, Ray Ozzie, who succeeds Bill Gates in that role.

After Vista RTMs, Dave Cutler, a senior technical fellow at Microsoft, and Amitabh Srivastava, corporate vice president of COSD, will work directly with Ray Ozzie on Live initiatives. Effective immediately, Dr. Gary William Flake and the Live Labs team will report to Ozzie. Microsoft formed the Live Labs research partnership between MSN and Microsoft Research in January.

Infor Global Solutions may not be a household name, but it is now a $2-billion player in the ERP market.

Infor completed its planned acquisition of SSA Global July 28. Last Wednesday, it simultaneously added Extensity and Systems Union to its portfolio.

The company's product lineup already includes acquired technology from Baan, E.piphany, MAPICS and other companies. Infor has made more than 20 acquisitions in the last few years.

Extensity fields performance management software, financial applications such as budgeting and reporting, and business intelligence software targeting the upper- to higher-end of the midmarket. Systems Union has similar offerings focusing on smaller companies.

Infor and its majority investor Golden Gate Capital have created what Infor CEO Jim Schaper last Wednesday called the third-largest enterprise software company in the world after SAP and Oracle.