5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

BlackBerry Lives

Research In Motion's long-awaited BlackBerry 10 operating system launched this week with impressive fanfare -- and a boatload of solid-to-glowing reviews from tech pundits looking at the new BlackBerry 10 devices, the Z10 and the Q10. It also marked a rebranding; RIM now has the same name, BlackBerry, as its flagship product.

Now comes the hard part. If BB10 marks the start of a BlackBerry turnaround, all the better for smartphone competition. If it's BlackBerry's last gasp, at least the once-proud company went down fighting.

DataGravity Flush With Cash

Big Data means big money, at least in the case of data center startup DataGravity, which this week confirmed $30 million in its second funding round.

Based in Nashua, N.H., DataGravity's president is John Joseph, the former vice president of marketing and product management for EqualLogic, who told CRN that while the company isn't yet ready to talk about its products, it's "safe to say we are going after midsized companies and the data they store and extract information for that data."

This funding round, led by Andreesen Horowitz, brought DataGravity's total VC investment to $42 million, including its previous $12 million April 2012 round.

Polycom Bulks Up Services

Polycom is betting its strategic alliance with Microsoft will continue to pay dividends for UC- and video-focused channel partners, so much so that it's acquired one of them in a bid to expand what it can offer for advanced services through the channel.

Polycom will pay less than $10 million for Sentri, a Microsoft Gold partner and specialist in Lync and various Microsoft cloud solutions. The idea, according to Polycom, is to offer consulting, design, deployment and maintenance services via the Sentri business to assist Polycom's roughly 7,000 partners.

Also of note: Polycom's filled a few more executive team holes thanks to the hiring of Damian Artt and Michael Alp as its new Americas and APAC leaders.

HP Tightens Rules of Engagement

One of the key announcements slated for HP's Global Partner Conference next month is a revision to its rules of engagement, which HP confirmed to CRN earlier this week.

According to the company, "HP will not move a customer from an indirect sales model to a direct model on specific registered opportunities without express engagement with the channel partner, and it must be based on customer choice only."

In theory it sounds like partners will have a lot more deal protection from HP. "In theory" could be very different than "in practice" -- especially when it comes to this company -- but it's a move we're betting more than one exhausted HP partner will appreciate. As HP seeks to mend channel fences, in fact, it may prove one of its most important policy moves.

Tier 3 Gets Its Man

Fast-growing cloud services provider Tier 3 aimed and hit its mark on Matthew Schiltz (pictured), who this week was named its new president and CEO. Schiltz has plenty of cloud and startup bona fides; he was previously CEO of cloud storage specialist Symform and also ran DocuSign and CourtLink.

"Matt was our top CEO target," said Jared Wray, Tier 3's founder and CTO, who'd been interim chief executive since October. "He brings the key strategic and operational leadership needed to guide Tier 3 as we deliver the most complete enterprise cloud management platform available."