5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

Microsoft Jockeying For Win-Win Position In Mobile

It's no secret that mobile is the weakest area of Microsoft's business right now. But the software giant has a plan to get back into the mobile game, and it's one that goes beyond just Windows Phone 7. Microsoft has sued Motorola for patent infringement related to Motorola's Android phones. Earlier this year, Microsoft convinced HTC to license its technology for Android phones.

Android's momentum scares the heck out of Microsoft, and so Microsoft is wielding its Linux patent portfolio to slow it down. It's clear that Microsoft is positioning itself to get paid regardless of whether someone buys a Windows Phone 7 device or an Android device.

Is this kind of behavior annoying to the open source community? Of course. Is it an example of the kind of stuff that makes people not want to buy Microsoft products? Probably. But is it also an aggressive, calculated maneuver from a company that's ready to do whatever it takes to win? Without question.

IBM Vows To Continue Its Acquisition Frenzy

IBM has been snapping up companies left and right to bolster strategic business areas, and this week closed its $480 million acquisition of interactive marketing software developer Unica. IBM also recently acquired Netezza (business analytics) and Blade Network Technologies (networking blade switches).

With 12 deals either closed or announced this year, IBM is in the midst of one of the most fervent acquisition sprees in its history, and indications are that this will continue. "Rate and pace of that is not going to change," IBM senior VP for Software Solutions Mike Rhodin said at an industry conference in Barcelona, Spain, as reported by Reuters.

Rackspace Cozies Up To Cloud Channel Partners

Cloud computing is scaring the heck out of some solution providers, but there are vendors that have developed a soothing bedside manner when explaining to their partners that it's not the disintermediating force they think it is. One such vendor is Rackspace, which at its Partner Leadership Summit in San Antonio this week offered insight into how partners can make money in the cloud.

"We can move up the stack and create service offerings around that that are really compelling," Rackspace CEO Lanham Napier told CRN this week. "Then, channel partners can take that broad platform and monetize all sorts of mixes, whether it is desktop virtualization or a specific app for a vertical industry."

Verizon Unfurls Ambitious 4G Network Rollout Plan

Verizon stole the show at this week's CTIA Enterprise & Applications conference in San Francisco by revealing its 4G network build-out plans.

The carrier says it will launch its 4G LTE network in 38 major U.S. metropolitan areas by year's end, in an ambitious rollout that will also extend high-speed mobile broadband coverage to 60 airports. That's a much more ambitious launch scope than Verizon offered earlier this year when it said it would launch 4G in 25 to 30 cities nationwide.

Now the question becomes: Will handset makers have 4G devices ready when Verizon's 4G network goes live? Verizon President and COO sure seems to think so: "We are building it, and they are showing up in droves," McAdam said of the 4G LTE ecosystem, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Skype Grabs High-Ranking Cisco Exec For CEO Position

Skype this week filled its open CEO position with a high profile executive from Cisco.

Tony Bates is leaving his position as Cisco's senior vice president of Cisco's enterprise, commercial and small business group and will take over as CEO and member of the board at Skype later this month. A 15-year Cisco veteran, Bates helped guide development of the company's Borderless Networks, data center, UC and collaboration strategies, including the forthcoming Cius tablet.

Nabbing Bates is a coup for Skype, a company that hasn't had many dull moments as of late. Skype filed for an IPO in August and recently launched a channel program to raise its profile in the business space.