Five Companies That Came To Win This Week

Microsoft Finally Letting Partners Handle Office 365 Billing

For years, Microsoft partners have pined for the ability to handle the billing aspects of their business relationships with customers who purchase Microsoft's cloud-based Office apps but to no avail. Until now, partners have only been able to play an "adviser role" in Office 365 sales while Microsoft billed customers directly for Office 365 subscriptions and paid back a margin on subscription fees to ’adviser’ partners.

That's set to change under a new program Microsoft unveiled this week at its Worldwide Partner Conference. The new Office 365 Open program allows partners to buy Office 365 subscription keys from a price list, sell services to customers and bill them directly.

It's the same approach Microsoft uses for selling most of its software products through the channel, and a step that should help reduce friction while encouraging more partners to sell cloud software.

Intel Investing $4.1 Billion Investment In Semiconductor Equipment Vendor ASML

Intel this week unveiled a partnership with semiconductor equipment maker ASML aimed at fueling the production of next-generation 450-mm wafers. ASML makes lithography equipment, which uses extreme ultraviolet technologies to pack more and more transistors onto chips.

Intel is paying Netherlands-based ASML a total of $4.1 billion dollars, $1 billion of which will go to R&D of new 450-mm technologies.

VMware Adds Oracle Database Support In New vFabric Release

VMware, with its release of vFabric Data Director 2.0, is virtualizing Oracle databases and setting the stage for more of its partners to offer database-as-a-service. This is welcome news for database administrators, who spend about 50 percent of their time creating new databases and moving data around.

"Companies are looking to offer database-as-a-service, and they can use vFabric Data Director to define what databases they want to offer to internal users and developers, and define policies," Fausto Ibarra, VMware's senior director of data and analytics product management, told CRN.

AMD Gets Funding For Exascale Computing

AMD scored $12.6 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy for R&D of new chip technologies related to exascale computing. $9.6 million will go to processor-related research and up to $3 million will be earmarked for memory-related research, AMD said. The funding is part of FastForward, the DOE's extreme-scale computing R&D initiative, which it launched in April in cooperation with the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).

The DOE will grant approximately $60 million in total funding over the next two years to manufacturers in the processor, memory and storage markets.

Cloud Collaboration Specialist FuzeBox Closes $20 Million

FuzeBox, a San Francisco-based cloud collaboration startup, landed a $20 million Series A financing round and named a well-known ex-Cisco executive to its board.

FuzeBox offers mobile and web-based collaboration tools that compete with Cisco's WebEx and Citrix's GoToMeeting, and uses scalable video codec (SVC) compression to encode video streams at different resolutions.

FuzeBox offers its products as subscription-based services or via appliances installed on-premises, and earlier this year it released Fuze Join for iPhone, an app for mobile videoconferencing and collaboration.