5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

For the week ending July 26, CRN takes a look at the companies that brought their 'A' game to the channel.


The Week Ending July 26

Topping this week's roundup of companies that came to win is Apple for its blockbuster $1 billion deal to acquire Intel's smartphone modem business.

Also making the list was Microsoft for investing $1 billion in a startup to build artificial intelligence supercomputing technologies for Microsoft Azure cloud. CenturyLink made the list for its ambitious expansion of its fiber network, as did Hitachi Vantara for a savvy channel executive hire. And Sprint and T-Mobile are winners for finally getting the greenlight to complete their proposed $26.5 billion merger.

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Not everyone in the IT industry was making smart moves this week, of course. For a rundown of companies that were unfortunate, unsuccessful or just didn't make good decisions, check out this week's Five Companies That Had A Rough Week roundup.

Apple Acquiring Majority Of Intel’s Smartphone Modem Business For $1 Billion

Apple reached an agreement with Intel this week to acquire a majority of the chipmaker’s smartphone modem business in a $1 billion deal that has major implications for future iPhone development.

Apple will take on 2,200 Intel employees as well as intellectual property and equipment from the giant semiconductor maker.

The iPhone maker recently settled a long-running legal dispute with Qualcomm with a patent license agreement and multiyear chipset supply agreement. But evidence has been mounting that Apple wants to control its own destiny by developing its own iPhone modems, ensuring 5G functionality without relying on outside suppliers.

This week’s deal just might make that possible.

Microsoft Investing $1 Billion In OpenAI To Advance AI Within Azure Cloud

One billion dollars seems to be the magic number this week. Microsoft said it is investing $1 billion in San Francisco's OpenAI research company to jointly build artificial intelligence supercomputing technologies for the Microsoft Azure cloud platform.

The multi-year partnership is expected to fuel OpenAI's efforts to develop artificial general intelligence (AGI) technologies. OpenAI will run its services on Microsoft Azure and Microsoft will be the company's preferred partner for commercializing new AI technologies.

Microsoft channel partners said the investment in OpenAI underscores Microsoft's commitment to AI commercialization and bringing AI innovations to scale in a way that businesses can adopt and use. They also said it is likely to provide a major boost to Azure platform adoption.

CenturyLink Fiber Expansion Brings Benefits To Partners, Businesses

Telecom giant CenturyLink has extended the reach of its fiber network into 50 major cities in a move that empowers more businesses that need a reliable, high-capacity network for their next-generation applications.

CenturyLink has been aggressively expanding its fiber footprint, announcing this week that the addition of 3.5 million fiber miles to its intercity network – connecting 50 major cities – marks the completion of phase one of its fiber buildout.

The new fiber infrastructure will boost the performance of CenturyLink's network and better serve business customers and government agencies looking to build secure networks for demanding next-generation applications, such as Internet of Things.

The expanded network also creates opportunities for CenturyLink channel partners because the telecom company hasn't historically had a significant footprint within major cities.

Sprint And T-Mobile Get The Greenlight To Merge

Wireless service providers Sprint and T-Mobile are winners this week after the U.S. Department of Justice gave its approval for the two companies to complete their $26.5 billion mega-merger.

The merger, announced more than a year ago, follows earlier efforts to combine the two companies: A merger deal in 2014 failed to win regulatory approval while negotiations for another merger attempt in 2017 fell apart.

The DOJ approval, which follows the Federal Communications Commission's approval earlier this year, means that the new company – operating under the T-Mobile name – will have more clout to compete against industry heavyweights Verizon and AT&T.

Hitachi Vantara Snags Cohesity Channel Exec To Run Partnerships, Alliances

Hitachi Vantara wins kudos this week for its savvy hire of former Cohesity channel chief Todd Palmer as the company's new senior vice president of strategic partners and alliances.

Palmer is a channel veteran who has been running Cohesity's channel operations for a little over two years. Before that he held channel management posts at Palo Alto Networks, NetApp and CA.

Palmer is taking over from Mike Walkey, who is retiring after 13 years with Hitachi Vantara and its predecessor Hitachi Data Systems.