Five Companies That Came To Win This Week

Google's Tectonic Mobile Shift

Google took the mobile industry by storm this week with its $12.5 billion bid for Motorola Mobility, the business responsible for Motorola's smartphones and tablets. The move not only gives Google the mobile hardware component it has long coveted to continue the momentum it's caught with the Google Android operating system. The acquisition, which is expected to close by year's end or in early 2012, also gives Google some much-needed ammunition in the mobile patent war in which it's currently fighting via lawsuits from rivals Apple, Microsoft and Oracle. Adding Motorola to the fold gives Google a cache of 17,000 patents, and more than 7,500 that are pending.

Microsoft Windows 8: There'll Be An App For That

Microsoft is building an online app store that will be tightly tied into its next-generation Windows 8 operating system, letting users download software from third-party developers. While the move takes a page from Apple, which launched a Mac App Store for Mac OS X earlier this year, Microsoft's inclusion of third-party software is a first for the company. And the even bigger winners will be ISVs, who will be able build apps for Windows 8.

McAfee Flexes Margin Muscle

Security powerhouse McAfee upped the margin ante for solution provider partners playing in the commercial and enterprise spaces offering them a monstrous 25 percent margin on new registered deals. The new deal registration program was unveiled at CRN parent Everything Channel's XChange conference in Denver. McAfee Senior Vice President of Worldwide Channels Alex Thurber called the program a "game changer" and "is a huge deal." "Partners sell what they can make money on," Thurber said. "At the end of the day it is the sales guy, the feet on the street, who help drive brand and product preference. And 99 percent of the time they are paid on margin. We just drastically increased their opportunity to make money."

The 25 percent margin boost applies to Elite, Premier and Select channel partners on new registered deals and up to ten percent on upgrades for various McAfee solution suites. McAfee said Associate partners can also take advantage of a limited version of the program with up to ten percent margin protection.

Sophos, D&H Aim For SMB

Sophos is looking to bulk up its SMB footprint with a recently inked deal with North American distributor D&H Distributing, a partnership that will give UK-based Sophos access to D&H's massive channel and partner network that boasts more than 25,000 SMB resellers. The deal marks Sophos' first entrance into a broad tier two relationship in North America and its first true push into the SMB.

"The small-business VAR, they’re doing everything. That's another thing that D&H can provide is the scalable enablement that we don’t have the bandwidth to do," said Steven Hale, vice president of global channels for Sophos.

Cisco Pumps Up Volume On VIP

Cisco plumped its major partner incentive programs this week, but put the most juice into on its nearly decade-old Value Incentive Program (VIP).

According to Cisco, VIP is now in Version 18. The most dramatic changes include Cisco's existing partner development funds (PDF) program -- which offers incentive payments for partners on certain types of deals to small business or midmarket customers -- has been renamed VIP Express. Partners participating in VIP Express will still receive quarterly payments, as they did under PDF, but Cisco is aligning the PDF program with the VIP program and streamlining the process for participating. The VIP Express piece is primarily for Cisco small business specialist, select and premier partners, Cisco explained. Meanwhile, Cisco Gold level partners will also see fatter VIP payments going forward. Cisco Gold partners that participate in Cisco's Data Center architecture track -- previously known as the Virtualization track -- can temporarily bag a 2 percent rebate instead of a 1 percent rebate.