Five Companies that Came To Win This Week

Microsoft Gets Positive Response To Windows 8 From Developers At Build

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made a surprise appearance at the Build developer conference this week, and he probably enjoyed that more than he did speaking to Wall Street analysts at the company's Financial Analyst Day, also held this week.

Ballmer touted Microsoft's efforts to "re-imagine" its Windows franchise and get it running on a wide range of hardware devices. Playing to a familiar audience, Ballmer also spoke of the possibilities developers will have to create new apps for Windows 8. "There's never been a better time to have software development as a core skill," Ballmer said at the event.

Although Microsoft didn't offer a timeframe for Windows 8's arrival, it's clearly a step in a new direction for Microsoft, and the enthusiastic response from developers suggests that customers could also be impressed by the machines that end up running the next version of Windows.

Amazon Gets FISMA Certification For Amazon Web Services

Amazon this week earned Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) Moderate Authorization and Accreditation for Amazon Web Services (AWS), a key hurdle that will open up AWS to federal, state and local government customers. The FISMA certification covers Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) and Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC).

FISMA certification for Amazon means that government bodies can now use AWS' cloud infrastructure services and comply with the security requirements of applications that demand strict security practices at the FISMA Moderate level.

Cisco Earmarks $75 Million For Channel Development Initiatives

Cisco Systems this week said it plans to invest $75 million in the channel during its fiscal 2012, including marketing and engineering resources, incentive programs for midmarket- and SMB-focused Cisco solution providers, and a partner relationship management (PRM) system.

The $75 million figure is impressive considering that Cisco is in the midst of a corporate restructuring and is trying to cut $1 billion in expenses this fiscal year. But as many vendors have realized, investing in the channel can save a company money while making it leaner and more efficient.

Virtualization Startup Autovirt Launches First Channel Program

Autovirt, whose data migration technology has been raising eyebrows in the virtualization space, this week launched its first formal channel program, led by former Akorri channel chief Warren Mead. The program includes deal registration that gives 40 percent margin to Premier level partners and 10 percent margin to Basic tier partners.

Autovirt's technology identifies and analyzes file data in storage area networks and cloud computing environments, helping companies to prioritize critical data on high performance storage and relegate other data to less expensive storage tiers.

Google Adds 1,000 IBM Patents To Its Arsenal

Google this week added 1,023 IBM patents to its portfolio to go with the 1,030 it bought from IBM in July. The patents cover a wide range of technologies, including wireless networking, circuit design, Java scripting, desktop hardware, server hardware and Web search.

While it's unclear exactly what Google intends to do with these patents, the company is currently involved in Android related legal battles with Apple, Nokia and Oracle.