5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

1. Xerox Says It's Managed Print Margins Are Better Than HP's

HP has dominated the market for printing and imaging for what seems like eons, but Xerox is moving in to slay the dragon. Xerox North America President Russell Peacock told CRN this week that VARs can make better margins with Xerox's managed print offerings than HP's.

That's due in part to the maturity of PagePack, Xerox's managed print services suite, and to Xerox getting creative with annuity services models, Peacock said. Xerox isn't exactly a fresh-faced youngster on the printing scene, but if it can deliver cost savings to the channel, HP may discover the tough lesson that no empire lasts forever.

2. Intel Unleashes Its Atom Z6 Processor

Intel's new Atom Z6 processor and Moorestown platform hit the market this week, heralding the chip-making giant's effort to get its technology into more high-end smartphones and tablet PCs. The Atom Z6, formerly codenamed Lincroft, will run Android or MeeGo, Intel and Nokia's new Moblin-inspired operating system.

The Atom Z6 draws much less power than Intel's preceding Atom-based platform and will give device makers an alternative to the ARM-based chips they've been using. If the power savings are what Intel says they are, Intel could finally achieve its vision of moving its desktop dominance into the realm of mobile devices.

3. Palo Alto Networks Bolsters Facebook Security

One company's security holes are another company's opportunity, and so it is with Facebook and Palo Alto Networks. After a Facebook glitch this week exposed some users' private data to other users, Palo Alto Networks released App-ID, a firewall feature that gives network admins more control over Facebook Social Plug-ins.

It's a win-win for everyone: Companies get to keep using Facebook, and Facebook gets to hear less complaining about its disastrous security implications for businesses. Oh, and Palo Alto's proactive stance on security issues is also made clear to a wider audience that probably never heard of the company before.

4. HP Poaches Another Cisco Exec

HP is very skilled when it comes to luring away other companies' talent, and it did so once again this week. In bringing on six-year Cisco vet Mark Stephenson, HP gets to leverage domain knowledge straight from the enemy camp.

Stephenson is heading the HP ProCurve sales charge and will help HP counter all of Cisco's strategic points of attack. Poaching this type of executive from a rival often forces the rival to re-think their entire plan of attack, and it'll take some time for Cisco to identify and implement new points of attack.

5. Skype Chops Voice Plans Even Further

Skype this week unveiled new subscription plans which start at $1.09 a month and offer call rates as low as 1 cent per minute to any of 170 countries. Skype says the plans offer savings of 60 percent over its current Pay As You Go rates.

Skype is also rumored to be rolling out a video chat feature that will allow up to five Skype users to take part in a video chat call. No word on what this will cost yet, but it's probably going to be a lot less than the cost of a video enabled unified communications solution. Skype's first iteration of video chat may by clunky, but the company has ridden the wave of VoIP innovation to a position in the market that has to be concerning to VoIP incumbents.