Five Companies That Came To Win This Week

Google Surges In Q4, Cloud Business Sees Healthy Gains

Google turned in a solid performance in its historically healthy fourth quarter, with revenue jumping 36 percent and profit nearly 7 percent. Like most tech companies, Google doesn't break out cloud as a distinct revenue category, but analyst firm TBR crunched the numbers and estimated that Google's cloud businesses brought in $97 million in revenue in the quarter and $314 million for the year. TBR also expects Google's cloud business to triple in 2013 to just under $1 billion.

VMware Widens DevOps, Open Source Footprint With Puppet Labs Investment

VMware, as part of its software-defined data center scheme, pumped $30 million in funding into Puppet Labs, a cloud automation vendor that is one of the driving forces behind the DevOps movement. VMware also took part in an $8.5 million round of funding in 2011, which included Cisco and Google, so clearly Puppet Labs has the stuff it's looking for.

Since Puppet Labs is also part of the open source community, VMware's investment will help it make inroads in this area as well. Cloud automation technology is all the rage, and VMware appears intent on staying close to one of the most highly regarded purveyors out there.

Hortonworks Gets Creative In Bringing Hadoop To Channel

Hadoop has emerged as a central technology in the big data craze, but it's far from easy to work with and this has kept it from gaining a spot in the channel repertoire. Hortonworks is hoping to change that with its "sandbox" implementation of its Hadoop platform, which is designed for partners that are new to the big data space.

"This is a partner-enabler," John Kreisa, vice president of marketing at Hortonworks, told CRN. "Channels are a huge strategy for us."

Belkin Steps Up In SMB Space With Linksys Acquisition

Belkin is acquiring Cisco's Home Networking Business Unit, which includes the Linksys business, in a move that could catapult it into a higher profile spot in the SMB marketplace.

In acquiring Linksys, Belkin is getting one of the most well-known brands in consumer and SOHO networking, with a 30 percent share of the U.S. retail home and small-business networking market.

"Linksys has been connecting consumers to more powerful wireless networks for business, from home to small business solutions," Mike Chen, senior director of product management for Belkin's networking business, told CRN.

Beleaguered Nokia Claws Its Way Back To Profitability

Finally, some good news for Nokia, which reported a $270 million profit in its fiscal fourth quarter after losing $1 billion in the same period last year.

OK, so revenue dropped 20 percent, smartphone sales were off considerably compared to last year and Nokia's outlook was kind of grim. Still, the glimmer of hope afforded by the quarterly profit stood out like a glittering diamond on the wretched landscape of Nokia's recent fiscal performances.

"We are very encouraged that our team's execution against our business strategy has started to translate into financial results," Nokia CEO Stephen Elop (pictured) said in the company's earnings call. "Most notably we are pleased that Nokia Group reached underlying operating profitability in the fourth quarter and for the full year 2012."