Five Companies That Came To Win This Week

Microsoft Beats Out Google For San Francisco Cloud Email Contract

Microsoft put one in the win column in its long running battle with Google in the cloud market, winning a $1.2 million/year BPOS deal with the San Francisco city government. San Francisco will move more than 23,000 of its municipal employees from 60 departments to Microsoft's cloud-based e-mail service, which will cost about $6.50 per user per month.

San Francisco also evaluated Google Apps and IBM Lotus Notes but found Microsoft BPOS to be the best fit. Don't think for a second that this isn't going to be repeated over and over in the coming months by Microsoft's cloud market squads. One thing to keep in mind: This could be down to San Francisco's long running rivalry with Los Angeles, which is using Google Apps.

Dell's High Margin Business Booming

Dell's Q1 profit soared 177 percent and earnings 188 percent on strong growth in its high margin enterprise and SMB businesses.

"As we transition to more Dell-owned IP (intellectual property), we're selling more higher value products, and having deeper conversations with customers about their technology challenges and requirements," Brian Gladden, senior vice president and CFO of Dell said by way of explanation.

VMware Acquires Shavlik, Launches Horizon App Manager

VMware added cloud management technology to its arsenal by acquiring New Brighton, Minn.-based Shavlik Technologies. Shavlik has built a nice portfolio of on-premise and SaaS-based management solutions that let SMBs manage, monitor and secure their IT environments when making the jump into virtualization and the cloud.

The deal again underscores the growing industry focus being paid to virtualization management. Meanwhile, this week also unveiled Horizon App Manager, a VMware-hosted identity management service that lets organizations use their existing directory services in the public cloud while maintaining strong security.

Apple Looking To Expand Cloud Footprint With Silicon Valley Data Center

Apple has been moving aggressively to increase its cloud computing capabilities, and the company has signed a seven-year lease for 2.28 megawatts of critical power load in its Santa Clara, Calif.-based data center, which is currently under construction. Apple will reportedly have about 11,000 square feet of space in the new data center.

Apple, which is also building a giant data center in North Carolina, last month hired Microsoft cloud computing and data center guru Kevin Timmons to help oversee its expansion. You know that raised Steve Ballmer's blood pressure a bit, and it's another example of Apple not messing around in building competency in an area where it has relatively little.

Red Hat Steps Up Its Game With Enterprise Linux 6.1 Release

Red Hat this week began shipping Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.1, the latest update to its flagship product, which promises better performance than earlier versions when serving as both a virtual machine guest and hypervisor host. It also includes improvements to virtualization, file systems, scheduler, resource management and high availability.