Five Companies That Came To Win This Week

Google Fires Shot Across VoIP Industry's Bow

Google's new VoIP service, which allows Gmail users in the U.S. and Canada to make free voice calls, had over a million calls placed through it in the first 24 hours after its debut.

Google is furthering the telecommunications industry disruption that Skype helped create, but some analysts believe that Google's ambitions may extend well beyond this market. Google has been rumored to be planning a social networking offering to compete with Facebook, and integrating voice with Gmail could be a step in that direction.

In any event, for a company that has often misfired with products that were supposed to change the industry, Google does seem to have something interesting up its sleeve here.

Symantec Gives SMB Partners A Marketing Lift

Marketing is often a luxury that SMB solution providers can't afford, but it's also a function that's critical to the health of the vendor-VAR relationship. Symantec is trying to tackle this problem by rolling out Campaign Creator, a tools that takes the time and headache factor out of marketing.

By giving partners an easy-to-use tool for getting the word out about its products, Symantec is fostering a win-win situation for the channel. Symantec, which also launched an SMB partner advisory council earlier this year, is paying sustained attention to a channel segment that sometimes gets overlooked, but in their numbers, are definitely capable of bringing home the bacon.

IBM Helps Partners Figure Out, Leverage Social Media

Aware that social media is an enigmatic beast for many of its channel partners, IBM this week launched a "skills initiative" to give resellers, distributors, ISVs and systems integrators training and other resources to take full advantage of social media

Online training sessions and a social media guide are now available through the IBM PartnerWorld Communities Website, and IBM will hold a live session called "Leveraging Social Media for your Business" at its Information On Demand Conference in Las Vegas in October.

Many vendors are blabbing away about the virtues of social media, but ones that bring real guidance to the table are going to be surprised with the power it puts in the hands of channel partners.

Microsoft Launches Cloud Incentive Program

At Xchange Americas 2010 this week, Microsoft unveiled Cloud Champions Club, a new cloud-computing-oriented channel program that's designed to help partners follow Microsoft as it races into cloud computing.

The three-tier program includes incentives for partners that show a proficiency in selling cloud solutions like Microsoft BPOS, and it provides upfront funding to VARs to enable them to build proof-of-concept cloud solutions.

Microsoft was late to the cloud computing party but it's got plenty to offer when it comes to showing channel partners they'll still be able to make money in the cloud.

3Par Sits Back And Pops The Champagne

3Par, the storage vendor at the center of the ego-driven acquisition battle going on between HP and Dell, isn't actually doing anything to win this week, but it nonetheless sits in the enviable position of watching two very rich companies fighting to give it more money.

However things turn out, 3Par stands to get between three and four times the value its shares were trading at when Dell made its initial offer last week. That’s a scenario they don't teach you in business school, but it's one that must be pretty pleasing to 3Par's founders.

We'd try to reach out to them for comment, but in addition to not being able to talk for legal reasons, they're probably out shopping for yachts and new houses and stuff.