Five Companies That Came To Win This Week

Microsoft Adds Java Framework Support To Windows Azure

Microsoft this week added support for open-source Node.js development tools to its Windows Azure cloud platform-as-a-service, in an effort to tap into Node's growing popularity with up-and-coming developers. Microsoft also boosted capacity for the Azure SQL database and rolled out a limited preview of an Apache Hadoop-based service for Azure.

That's not all: Microsoft also cut data transfer prices in Windows Azure and instituted a price cap for large SQL Azure databases. The software giant hasn’t offered much information on Azure adoption, but moves like these could help attract a wider audience of developers.

IBM Boosts 'Smarter Commerce' Initiative With Emptoris Buy

IBM this week announced its intent to acquire Emptoris, a developer of supply chain analysis applications, for an undisclosed sum. According to IBM, procurement and sourcing managers use Emptoris applications to reduce sourcing costs and risks.

The Emptoris deal, along IBM's acquisition last week of sales and marketing analysis software vendor DemandTec, will fit into IBM's "Smarter Commerce" portfolio, which includes business-to-business integration and supply chain management technology from last year's acquisition of Sterling Commerce.

Nvidia Pushes The Envelope On Parallel Computing

Nvidia this week moved to spark the adoption of parallel computing by unveiling a compiler source code that lets software developers add new languages and architecture support to Nvidia’s CUDA programming model.

Nvidia says the compiler source code "opens up" its CUDA parallel programming platform, making it easier for developers to add GPU support for more programming languages. By greasing the skids for programming of parallel computing systems, Nvidia is trying to smooth the path to exascale computing.

"One of the biggest pain points in the community is that these users don’t know how to take advantage of any architecture, whether its multi-core CPUs or GPUs. So this new GPU compiler that uses directives is really appealing to a broader audience," Sumit Gupta, director of high performance computing products at Nvidia, told CRN.

Box Steps Up Cloud Storage Management

Cloud storage provider Box this week added features that help businesses manage and control employees' use of the cloud for file sharing and collaboration. These include better security and more granular control over which users can access which data from which devices. All of these have presented headaches for businesses in the past along the transition to the so called consumerization of the enterprise.

"Businesses need solutions to meet the needs of mobile users," Robin Daniels, head of enterprise product marketing at Palo Alto, Calif.-based Box, told CRN. "But most companies don't like to deal with those users' devices. IT doesn't have insight into or control over what employees are sharing. Box wants to work with those businesses to give IT that control."

Intel Creates New Smartphone, Tablet BU

Intel this week reshuffled its mobile business unit to create a new Mobile Communications Group (MCG) that'll focus exclusively on smartphones and tablets. It's a necessary move for the chipmaker, which got caught on its heels by the mobile revolution and has been slow to make up for lost time.

Heading up MCG will be Mike Bell, who spent several years at Apple and was involved in work on the iPhone, and Hermann Eul, a mobile industry veteran who joined Intel last year in its acquisition of Infineon’s mobile communications business.

In addition to MCG, which brings together Intel’s former Mobile Communications, Netbook and Tablet, Mobile Wireless, and Ultra Mobility units, the chipmaker intends to boost R&D spending on mobile projects.

Check out our roundup of vendors that dropped the ball for a look at the companies that were asleep at the wheel this week.