5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

RIM's Stock Gets A Boost

Struggling BlackBerry maker Research In Motion saw its stock surge this week, after Goldman Sachs showed some faith in the company's upcoming BlackBerry 10 software.

Analyst Simona Jankowski Wednesday increased her rating on RIM's stock from "neutral" to "buy," saying there's a "30 percent chance" BlackBerry 10, slated to launch in January, could actually be a hit among consumers. Goldman Sachs also increased its 12-month price target for RIM shares from $9 to $16.

When investors caught wind of this rosy outlook, RIM stock rose by more than 6 percent.

Microsoft Sells 40 Million Windows 8 Licenses

Microsoft this week disclosed that it sold 40 million Windows 8 licenses in the one month. The news, disclosed Tuesday by corporate Vice President Tami Reller, was the first hint Microsoft has offered about Windows 8 sales.

Industry watchers have raised questions about the expected demand for Windows 8, given the sluggish PC market and the large number of Microsoft customers that have already upgraded to Windows 7.

Microsoft said Windows 8 sales were "outpacing Windows 7 in terms of upgrades" but did not break down the 40 million sales figure. It's too soon to declare Windows 8 an unqualified success, but 40 million is nothing to sneeze at.

Google Wins Its Price War Against Amazon

Google and Amazon Web Services were entangled in an ongoing cloud storage pricing war this week, with Google getting the last word.

Google unveiled a 20 percent price reduction on its cloud storage services Monday, but Amazon Web Services quickly retaliated, dropping its own storage pricing models 25 percent during its re: Invent partner conference in Las Vegas.

Refusing to be outdone by its rival, Google said Wednesday it's dropping its cloud storage prices an additional 10 percent, driving its total reductions for the week to a hefty 30 percent. "We are very committed to delivering the best value in the marketplace to businesses and developers looking to operate in the cloud," a Google spokesperson said in a statement. "This price reduction applies to all Cloud Storage regions and the new DRA Storage."

Samsung Sees Galaxy Note II Sales Soar

Samsung underscored its dominance in the global smartphone market this week, saying it sold a whopping 5 million units of its Galaxy Note II device in just two months.

Galaxy Note II sales are outpacing those of its predecessor, the Galaxy Note, by a long shot, Samsung said; it took the first-generation model nearly five months to reach 5 million in sales.

Like the original Galaxy Note, the Galaxy Note II sports a unique half-tablet, half-smartphone design, with a 5.5-inch screen, making it larger than Samsung's flagship Galaxy S III smartphone, but smaller than its Galaxy Tab lineup of tablets. All three devices run Google's Android OS.

Microsoft Accelerates Partner Recruitment For The Cloud

As part of an upgrade of its Microsoft Partner Network programs, Microsoft has made it easier for solution providers -- both new recruits and those renewing their MPN enrollments -- to sign up for Cloud Essentials. The result: In one week 14,000 partners signed on for the program, Microsoft's initiative for helping partners develop an online services business.

Before this week Microsoft had 40,000 partners enrolled in Cloud Essentials, which the company started in mid-2010. Microsoft now expects to have 100,000 enrolled by mid-2013, the end of the company's fiscal year. Microsoft has been talking up its cloud strategy for some time now, but these moves show how serious the company is about moving to the cloud -- and how serious it is about bringing its channel partners with it.