11 True Stories That Sound Like April Fool's Jokes

They say that truth is stranger than fiction, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the IT Industry. It seems like barely a week passes without some vendor coming forth with a jaw-dropping announcement that has far reaching implications for the future of the IT industry. Lately, the pace of headlines that have the capacity to make readers gasp in disbelief has quickened.

In honor of April Fool's Day, ChannelWeb decided to round up several stories that sounded like April Fool's Jokes when they broke, but were actually real, and which continue to cause solution providers to shake their heads in disbelief.

Michael Dell: We'll Be A Strong Channel Partner

Article link: /it-channel/206103723

The channel has been watching Dell Computer with hawk-like intensity ever since the vendor launched its long awaited channel program in December.

In February, CEO Michael Dell tiptoed around the question of how Dell's acquisition of EqualLogic might impact his company's relationship with EMC and with CDW. Dell told ChannelWeb that Dell has grandfathered existing EqualLogic channel partners into Dell's Partner Direct program, and that his company has taken the best parts of EqualLogic's channel program and made them part of Partner Direct.

"Now these partners get everything they had before: deal registration, attractive margins, field channel support that's even increased," Dell said.

Ironic Runner-up Headline: Dell Channel Program Hits First Snag

Microsoft To Open Source: Let's Be Friends

Article link: /software/206801053

It was a move most industry watchers expected would happen just after hell froze over. But in February, Microsoft unveiled a strategy for increasing its support for industry standards and improving its traditionally frosty relationship with open source communities.

Although many industry experts interpreted the agreement as Microsoft's attempt to pacify European Union regulators, the news -- in terms of pure shock value -- rivaled Microsoft's 2004 interoperability deal with longtime foe Sun Microsystems.

AMD Begs Market To See Forest For The Quads

Article link: /hardware/204802897

Advanced Micro Devices last December lined up top executives to apologize for the chipmaker's quad-core ramp failures over the previous year, which included delays in the production of a quad-core product to compete with rival Intel's, and a glitch on AMD's quad-core Opteron devices that delayed volume shipments.

A parade of AMD executives, including President and COO Dirk Meyer and CEO Hector Ruiz, bravely faced the music at the company's annual Financial Analysts Day, urging the market to overlook AMD's foibles and instead look at successes in other parts of its business. "Customers are disappointed, which actually hurts more than being pissed off. I'd rather be screamed at than have people tell me how disappointed they are. I'm disappointed too. Because I let them down. That's not going to happen again," said Mario Rivas, EVP of AMD's Computing Products Group.

Best Buy Sued For $54 Million For Missing Laptop

Article link: /it-channel/206504044

Last November, a Washington, D.C., woman sued Best BuyCo. Inc. for $54 million, claiming the retailer lost her laptop while it was in for repairs and tried to cover up its disappearance. Raelyn Campbell is seeking punitive damages in addition to the cost of her computer and expenses and she wants Best Buy to change its practices to ensure customer privacy protection.

Campbell told The Associated Press that the $54 million is a "ridiculous number," claiming that she came up with the number to make it significant enough for them to pay attention to her.

Intel Breaks Up Its Channel Team

Article link: /white-box/206905023

Last month, reports surfaced that 4 key North American channel executives at Intel had accepted early retirement packages.

One channel observer described the break-up of Intel's channel team as "rare indeed for this many high-level channel executives to depart simultaneously and it will no doubt cause some disruption no matter how carefully planned or orchestrated."

One executive at a top Intel whitebox partner said that in a consolidating market it wasn't surprising that the chip giant was trimming down its channel management team and engaging in what appears to be a youth movement.

Lenovo Pledges Safety First After ThinkPad Fire

Article link: /it-channel/193005275

Last September, after a Lenovo ThinkPad T43 laptop with a Sony battery cell caught fire at Los Angeles International Airport, company officials pledged that public safety would be the company's first priority as it worked to determine the cause of the fire.

"Our engineers are madly racing through this," Lenovo spokesman Ray Gorman told ChannelWeb. "We are going very, very quickly and will take whatever measures best serve our customers and public safety." Gorman confirmed the ThinkPad T43 used the same Sony battery cells that were at the center of a recall of nearly 6 million Dell and Apple laptops earlier this year. However, he stressed that Lenovo has a different battery pack design than Apple and Dell.

Ironic Runner-up Headline: Lenovo Takes On Dell

Apple Quietly Launches New MacBook Notebooks

Article Link: /hardware/202801099

In November, Apple launched an upgraded line of 13-inch MacBook notebook computers by quietly posting their availability in its online store, in a move that surprised some industry experts who'd grown used to flamboyant product rollouts from the Cupertino, Calif.-based vendor.

CDW Bought By Private Equity Firm

Article Link: /it-channel/199703181

Last May, news that CDW had agreed to be acquired by a private equity company for some $7.3 billion in cash shocked the channel like few events ever have.

Madison Dearborn Partners, a Chicago-based private equity firm, bid $87.75 in cash per share for CDW stock, which was about 16.1 percent over CDW's closing price on May 25, 2007. Madison Dearborn Partners was one of a number of bidders in an auction conducted by CDW's board of directors, according to CDW.

Ironic Runner-up: How Low Can CDW Go?

Microsoft Bids $44.6 Billion For Yahoo

Article Link: /software/206101783

The early February revelation of Microsoft's $44.6 billion offer for search and media company Yahoo had people double checking their calendars. And while the deal had yet to close as of the end of March, a growing number of industry experts believe it's just a matter of time.

"We have great respect for Yahoo!, and together we can offer an increasingly exciting set of solutions for consumers, publishers and advertisers while becoming better positioned to compete in the online services market," Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's CEO, said in a prepared statement. "We believe our combination will deliver superior value to our respective shareholders and better choice and innovation to our customers and industry partners."

Symantec Says Worst Is Over

Article Link: /security/204400552

Last November, toward the end of what could charitably be described as a difficult year for Symantec, company executives announced that 2008 would be a rebound year as a result of rising customer and partner satisfaction.

However, after spending much of 2007 grappling with support, deal registration, and purchasing and licensing issues, some Symantec partners greeted this news with a considerable amount of skepticism.

The barrage of scrutiny that Symantec faced in the last 12 months has not been anomalous. "The system made it appear we were harder to do business with. The word on the street was loud and vocal," Randy Cochran, Symantec vice president of channel sales said in a November interview with ChannelWeb.

CompUSA To Close Up Shop

Article Link: /it-channel/204703166

Last December, news that CompUSA was shutting its doors was greeted in the channel with widespread schadenfreude, as solution providers gleefully lined up to dance on the PC retailer's grave.

CompUSA had been struggling for years against rivals like Best Buy and CDW, and in early 2007 tried to ignite interest with small businesses by reaching a deal with Microsoft) to offer the services of Microsoft's Small Business Specialist Community (SBSC) to CompUSA's small-business customers.

But in the end, CompUSA sold off its assets, including 103 stores, to Specialty Equity, a division of restructuring firm Gordon Brothers Group.