Five Companies That Came To Win This Week

Facebook Files IPO For $5 Billion

After months of speculation and anticipation, social networking behemoth Facebook filed for its initial public offering with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Facebook hopes to raise at least $5 billion or maybe more, putting the company's market valuation at more than $100 billion.

The filing disclosed that Facebook recorded $3.71 billion in sales in 2011, up from $1.97 billion the previous year, and earned $1 billion in profit.

The IPO is expected to beat out Google's $1.9 billion IPO in 2004. But can the company meet the high growth expectations triggered by the pending stock sale? It remains to be seen how many of the company's new stockholders ultimately will "like" their investment returns.

HP CEO Whitman Pledges Allegiance To The Channel

It's been a rough couple of years for Hewlett-Packard solution providers. CEOs coming and going. Plans made and changed about the future of the HP Personal Systems Group. The aborted TouchPad. Uncertainty about webOS.

HP's channel partners could use a little confidence boost right now. And they got it from CEO Meg Whitman who, in an interview with CRN, vowed to end the roller-coaster strategic shifts and unpleasant surprises for partners.

"What they want from HP is a steady, reliable, predictable partner," Whitman said. "They have bet their businesses and livelihoods on us, so it's not great when we make sudden and unanticipated changes -- it's hard for them to run their businesses."

Dell Launches New Software Group

Dell this week said it is creating a new Software Group and has hired former CA Technologies CEO John Swainson to run it.

Dell disclosed few details about the new operation. The company has acquired a number of software companies in recent years. Some software products that are closely tied to hardware, such as KACE and Boomi, will remain part of the product organizations. But others will become part of the new entity.

Dell became an industry giant with its PCs and server hardware and in recent years has leveraged its acquisitions and its global brand and distribution strengths to expand into new areas such as data storage systems and consulting services.

Microsoft Seeks To Capitalize On Google Privacy Controversy

Last week Google set off a wave of criticism when it said that under a new unified privacy policy the company would combine user information from its multiple Web services, such as Gmail and YouTube. Critics said that violated Google's "Don't be evil" motto by making it easier to track users and target more ads at them.

Seeing an opportunity, Google rival Microsoft launched a campaign (including ads in major newspapers) portraying its Hotmail e-mail, Office 365 cloud applications, Bing search engine and Internet Explorer browser as safer alternatives to Google's competing products.

Google was quick to respond with a blog post called Busting Myths About Our Approach To Privacy. But it was a battle in which Microsoft had clearly put Google on the defensive.

Google To Funnel New Deals Through The Channel

Recognizing the value of the channel, Google has made changes to its direct sales organization in a move that will give partners a crack at larger sales deals and reduce channel conflict.

While Google has worked closely with partners to land midmarket contracts, gaining access to bigger deals hasn't been easy for Google resellers, which sometimes feel that Google takes larger deals away from them.

The changes include a new compensation plan with incentives for direct sales reps to bring partners into deals, and a simplified sales force structure that improves communications between Google sales staff and partners. Midmarket teams and managers that work with resellers will not be responsible for sales in larger organizations, meaning partners will have access to bigger deals.