Briefs: May 8, 2006


The markets for data storage tape and data protection have continued to consolidate. Quantum’s acquisition of ADIC comes about a year after Sun became the largest tape-library vendor with its acquisition of StorageTek.

Quantum has traditionally done well in the channel and OEM storage business, but not as well in the enterprise tape-library business, said Rob Pickell, vice president of marketing for the vendor. ADIC, on the other hand, has sharpened its focus on the enterprise in the past few years, making the companies’ product lines complementary, he said.

Quantum will try to keep both product lines in different market segments, similar to the way it segmented the market when it purchased Benchmark Storage Innovations in 2002, Pickell said.

Panasonic this week is formally rolling out a new federal partner program. The initiative is aimed at providing additional support for resellers and system integrators serving the federal government market, said Sheila O’Neil, director of channel sales for Panasonic.

Sponsored post

O’Neil expects the new program will help the laptop vendor increase its federal sales by as much as 35 percent this year.

Among the benefits of the new federal program: dedicated inside sales support, a new Web site training portal, and discount pricing on demonstration units.

John Marks, CEO of JDM Infrastructure, a Panasonic partner, said the federal program is an example of “Panasonic engaging directly with the channel rather than going direct, unlike some of its competitors, who boast about being 70 [percent] to 80 percent channel focused.”

Michelle Chapin, director of government channels for Panasonic, said the new federal program has been in development for the last year with Panasonic adding more staff and support. “We want to make sure our federal partners are being well taken care of and that they are engaging us and calling us for support on mobile solutions,” she said.

The federal government initiative is the fourth formal market segment initiative being pursued by Panasonic. The others are commercial, public safety, and state and local government.

The IEEE 802.11n working group last Tuesday failed to ratify the first draft of the high-speed wireless standard. Only 46.6 percent of members voted to approve 802.11n 1.0, falling short of the 75 percent required to pass the draft.

Greg Raleigh, CEO of wireless chipset vendor Airgo Networks, pointed to the vote as evidence that significant changes to improve interoperability with legacy devices are required.

“[The] outcome proves that draft 1.0 was not as stable as some in the industry would have us believe. It calls into question the validity of so-called ‘draft n’ products,” Raleigh said in a statement, referring to the spate of “pre-standard” devices that have flooded the market in recent weeks from vendors such as Cisco Systems’ Linksys division, D-Link and Buffalo Technology that are compliant with the 1.0 draft.

Airgo rivals Atheros Communications, Broadcom and Marvel have been touting chipsets based on the 802.11n draft.

Bill Bunch, director of WLAN product marketing at Broadcom, said the draft was not expected to pass on its first try and that the vote should not be seen as a defeat.

The working group will now take the comments from members’ ballots to make decisions about how the issues should be resolved in the next draft, which could result in changes, he said.

CDW Government (CDW-G), a subsidiary of CDW, is accepting requests for proposals (RFPs) soliciting small businesses to partner with CDW-G on federal business opportunities.

The small businesses will join CDW-G’s Small Business Partner Consortium, established in 2003 to help small businesses win IT contracts with federal agencies.

The small businesses use CDW-G’s e-commerce, service and distribution capabilities. Responses are due by May 19.

The Small Business Partner Consortium currently includes 15 federal members that can bid for government contracts with CDW-G as a part of their team.

Through this latest RFP, CDW-G intends to enhance the consortium by awarding new partnership agreements to several small businesses. Under the agreements, the small businesses may issue purchase orders to CDW-G to fulfill the requirements of federal contracts.

Former McAfee channel chief David Roberts took the top sales role at security vendor Websense.

The Web security and Web filtering vendor named Roberts vice president of sales for the Americas. In the move, Roberts follows former McAfee President Gene Hodges to Websense. Hodges left McAfee in January to become CEO of Websense.

Roberts joined McAfee in July 2004 and was part of the team that overhauled McAfee’s channel program, and helped that company move away from its traditional focus on direct sales to become a channel-friendly company.

Borland Software said last Wednesday it plans to cut its staff by more than 20 percent as part of President and CEO Tod Nielsen’s reorganization strategy for the financially struggling company.

Plans call for the elimination of 300 positions, and most of the layoffs will come from a restructuring of Borland’s international operations, the company said. From the 29 countries Borland serves, the software vendor will select major markets in which to focus its direct-sales resources, with the remaining markets served largely through channel partners.

Layoffs associated with the reorganization are expected be completed by the end of July, Borland said. International sales accounted for 57 percent of the company’s revenue last year.

Other structural changes at Borland include a move to combine its sales and professional services organizations into a new “field operations” unit and to embed its customer service group into its research and development unit. A new “business operations” team led by Senior Vice President Chris Barbin will focus on reworking internal processes and systems to better serve customers.

Borland is still working to sell off the integrated development environment (IDE) business that was once its flagship. The software maker put the IDE unit on the block in February, and it said this week that it hopes to have a buyer in the next few months.