5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

Rackspace Teams With NASA To Break Cloud Shackles

Fears about proprietary technology and interoperability have been holding back adoption of cloud computing, but Rackspace and NASA are tackling the issue head on.

This week, the duo unveiled a jointly developed open-source cloud computing platform called OpenStack, a step in the direction of cloud standards that lets organization build their own cloud environments.

Rackspace has open-sourced the cloud computing code that powers its Cloud Files and Cloud Servers public cloud offerings, while NASA is contributing technology that powers its Nebula Cloud Platform, a set of high performance compute, network and storage services designed for scientists and researchers.

Rackspace and NASA envision OpenStack giving organizations the freedom to move workloads freely between their own data centers, Rackspace's data centers and those of other service providers. For Rackspace, OpenStack is an ambitious move to address what has been a stickler of an issue in the cloud computing market.

Amazon's Kindle Sales Still Booming

A lot of analysts thought Apple's iPad was going to steamroll Amazon's Kindle business, but the e-retailer says nothing could be further from the truth. Kindle sales grew every month in the second quarter, and they've tripled since Amazon cut the price of the Kindle from $259 to $189, founder and CEO Jeff Bezos crowed this week.

Amazon's sales of Kindle books have surpassed its hardcover book sales, and in the first half of 2010, Amazon says it sold three times as many Kindle books as it sold in the first half of 2009. E-books are hot, and Amazon is getting a healthy share of the market even as rivals Sony and Barnes & Noble try to get their piece of the pie.

VMware To Boost Services Business For Partners

The virtualization market is crackling with life, and in VMware's fiscal second quarter the company saw licensing revenue jump 42 percent and services revenue rise 54 percent.

Interestingly for the channel, VMware said it doesn't expect services revenue to grow because it's going to rely more on partners for services delivery. It's another reason why solution providers that don't have virtualization expertise should start building their skills in this area.

VMware CEO Paul Maritz told investors to expect a slew of cloud security news next month at the vendor's VMworld 2010 conference. As more companies move IT operations to the cloud, companies that can assuage their customers' concerns about storing data in the cloud are going to build a whole new level of trust, and VMware is well aware of this.

HP Building Smartphone Channel Program

HP now has a plan for leveraging its $1.2 billion Palm acquisition, and channel partners that don’t currently have a smartphone practice are going to have a chance to add it to their repertoires.

HP Vice President Tom LaRocca, who also oversees HP's PartnerOne channel program, is leading the smartphone effort. HP's Enterprise Group has also brought in Mark Angelino, a former high-level Sprint and Salesforce.com executive, as senior vice president of global distribution.

"Our intention is to bring a fully serviceable set of services to the consumer and commercial markets based on the Palm OS," Stephen DiFranco, vice president and general manager of HP's Americas Solution Partners Organization (SPO), told CRN this week.

"To a reseller doing data center, I can have a practice with Palm devices from HP because that device can be managed and secured through the data center," he said.

Verizon, Motorola Don't Dawdle On Droid X Screen Fix

One tenet of customer service is to listen when people are complaining and, if possible, act quickly to address their concerns. That's exactly what Motorola and Verizon did in response to reports of screen problems with the new Droid X smartphone.

The two companies said the issue only affected a small number of users, but Motorola also immediately issued a fix. No arguments, no splitting hairs about the nature and scope of the problem, just good old fashioned action to quell customers' complaints. The Droid X is wildly popular, and Verizon and Motorola's quick reaction to the first bump in the road for the device was impressive.

Check out our roundup of vendors that dropped the ball for a look at the companies that were asleep at the wheel this week.