Five Vendors That Came To Win This Week

Netapp's Channel Embrace Pays Off

A couple of years ago, NetApp decided to boost the amount of its business going through channel partners. The strategy is apparently working pretty well for the company, which conducted an all-time high of 71 percent of its business through the channel in its fiscal fourth quarter.

During the quarter, NetApp reported total sales of $1.2 billion, up 33 percent compared to the year-ago quarter. Profit more than doubled from $68.4 million to $141.5 million. Perhaps there's something to this whole channel thing after all?

Dell Takes On Apple's iPad With Streak

The iPad sold more than a million units in less than a month after its release, and is well on its way to hitting the $1 billion mark in sales faster than any Apple product in history. Steve Jobs says it's the most important thing he's ever done.

These are formidable data points, but Dell ain't scared. The PC maker is gearing up to launch the Streak, an Android-based mobile device with a 5 inch screen and a powerful Qualcomm's Snapdragon chipset and 1 GHz processor, on the O2 network in the U.K. It'll be available in the U.S. later this summer through AT&T.

By embracing Android, Dell is hoping to ride the momentum Google has achieved in recent months and position the Streak as an iPad alternative, one that supports Flash.

Juniper Finds Its Niche

Juniper officials have been watching the mud-slinging between HP and Cisco and quietly figuring out how to use it for their benefit. This week at Juniper's partner conference, the message to VARs was: The back-and-forth bickering doesn't help customers, so you're not going to hear stuff that from us. Instead, Juniper flexed its growing marketing muscle and conveyed, in more effective ways than it's been able to do in the past, the unique value proposition Juniper brings to the table. Juniper re-branded itself around the concept of "The New Network" last fall, and has effectively carved out an alternate, distinct message in the networking market. This is something that Juniper VARs would like to see continue.

Fortinet Raises Its Profile

In the security industry right now, Fortinet is ascendant: The company went public last fall and is honing its cloud computing message as it looks to expand its product line beyond unified threat management. This last part is particularly pressing since investors will now be looking closely at Fortinet's ability to diversify and grow.

The good news is, Fortinet sees plenty of growth opportunities. At its partner conference this week in Vancouver, the company launched FortiInfluencer, a new program aimed at luring managed service providers to increase their Fortinet investments.

Fortinet has struggled a bit with name recognition over the years, but it's clearly got a plan for winning more hearts and minds of solution providers and service providers in the networking and security space.

Apple Now World's Most Valuable Tech Company

This week, Apple put an exclamation point on what has been a pretty amazing financial year by surpassing Microsoft in terms of market capitalization. Apple now trails only Exxon among U.S. companies, and a Morgan Stanley analyst earlier this week said Apple shares could eventually rise from their current level of $250 per share to $400 per share.

With continued brisk iPad sales and a new 4G iPhone looming, as well as a new mobile advertising platform, Apple looks poised for continued growth. The Apple freight train is rolling right now and it appears destined to keep rolling for the foreseeable future.

For our roundup of vendors that dropped the ball this week, click here.