Briefs: December 4, 2006


A group calling itself the "We Will Not Sign" coalition e-mailed legacy MCI agents asking them to contact the coalition if the VSPP could hurt their businesses. Legacy MCI agents brought into the Verizon fold have complained that the VSPP could put them in position to make less money. The coalition e-mail includes a picture of three people behind a sign that says, "Hey Verizon: We will not sign! Can you hear us now?"

Verizon, led by Chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg, did not offer VSPP contracts to more than 100 legacy MCI agents and is asking legacy MCI partners offered the contract to sign it by mid-December before they are given their quotas.

The 2007 VSPP "terminates and/or eliminates almost all your rights and security in your existing MCI base, writes down your current residual commissions up to 80 percent upon renewal of contracts and restricts your ability to service and support your larger clients," the coalition's e-mail charged.

3Com plans to take full ownership of its China-based joint venture by buying out partner Huawei Technologies' minority stake.

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The networking vendor plans to buy out Huawei's 49 percent stake in the Huawei-3Com (H3C) joint venture for $882 million, according to a 3Com statement. The deal, subject to approval by the People's Republic of China, represents an implied equity value of $1.8 billion, 3Com said.

Through H3C, formed in 2003, 3Com began selling Huawei networking products and later jointly developed products, including high-end routers and switches.

The joint venture's existing shareholders' agreement enabled either party to make a cash bid to buy the other's shares. 3Com began the bidding process on Nov. 15, and Huawei accepted a final bid on Nov. 27, 3Com said.

Edgar Masri, president and CEO of 3Com, said in a recent interview with CRN that 3Com's plans to increase its stake in the joint venture would benefit North American channel partners.

Avnet Technology Solutions signed a deal with SAS to bring the vendor's business intelligence applications to solution providers.

Avnet won't take title to the software but will play matchmaker between its Hewlett-Packard VARs and SAS. The distributor hopes its solution providers will buy additional hardware as part of SAS solutions and will help them market and sell SAS Enterprise BI Server software in conjunction with HP server and storage products.

In addition, Avnet is offering third-party database management and analytics software plus education, sales, marketing, implementation and financing services, said Rick Alvarez, vice president and general manager of the HP business unit at Avnet Technology Solutions, Americas.

The partnership brings SAS into the distributor's HP ISV alliance, which teams ISVs and VARs to market software with corresponding HP hardware. Other ISV alliance participants include Hyperion Solutions, Informatica Software, MicroStrategy and QAD.

"SAS normally has worked through their direct channel, and now through this program they're working more in the midmarket using our resellers," said Robert Oleander, director of ISV alliances at Avnet.

Business Objects added to its Software-as-a-Service arsenal by acquiring Nsite Software, a SaaS platform and applications developer, for an undisclosed amount.

Nsite makes an online application development tool that enables users to construct and customize simple hosted applications.

It also offers hosted applications to extend CRM functionality, including a quote and proposal generation tool and a channel management application for managing leads, deal registration, price quotes and partner workflow. Nsite's add-ons integrate with hosted CRM offerings from Siebel and

Business Objects was attracted both to Nsite's technology and its user base of 27,000 subscribers, according to Steve Lucas, Business Objects' vice president of on-demand software and services. The two companies had an existing technology partnership.

Business Objects plans to use Nsite's platform to meet customer and partner interest in tools to customize Business Objects' SaaS offerings, Lucas said. It also plans to continue selling Nsite's hosted applications.

In addition, Business Objects is readying more products for its SaaS portfolio. Next year, the company will introduce hosted services that go beyond reporting to meet customers' query and analytics needs, Lucas said.

Bob Stegner, vice president of worldwide market development at Ingram Micro, is leaving the company Jan. 5, 2007, to be closer to his family.

"It was a very difficult decision," Stegner said. "When you're doing predominantly worldwide travel away from home and family, it's not something I could continue to do."

A 10-year veteran of the distributor, Stegner has spent the past two years developing international VentureTech Networks of solution providers to mimic Ingram Micro's VentureTech Network in North America. Before that role, he was a longtime leader of VentureTech and a popular figure among solution providers.

Greg Starr, COO of IT Works, a VentureTech member, said Stegner's work with the partner network helped grow the solution provider's business. "VTN is the key to our evolution over the years. We got to learn and share best practices to take us to the next level."

Stegner said VentureTech Brazil is up and running with a target of 50 solution providers, and networks in Chile and Mexico are under way.

He added that he hopes to land another position in the channel. "I want to be somewhere where I can use my strong relationships with the SMB VARs and vendors," he said.

McAfee last week kicked off a campaign to attract Internet Security Systems customers by casting doubt on IBM's security capabilities.

McAfee's ISS Switch Program is based on the premise that ISS customers are worried about IBM's approach to security in the wake of its $1.3 billion acquisition of ISS, according to Chris Kenworthy, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at McAfee.

The vendor's North American channel partners are eligible for the program, which also includes on-site technical training. To entice ISS customers to switch, McAfee is also offering free installation, training and Platinum-level support, which includes assistance from a designated technical account manager.

McAfee is well-positioned as an early mover in the security risk management space, said Steve Goldsby, CEO of solution provider Integrated Computer Solutions. "If they can pull it all together, McAfee has built up a good solutions set," he said.