5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

Dell Credits The Channel For Its Server Market-Share Gains

Despite uncertainty created by its efforts to go private, Dell managed to gain market share in servers and PCs in the first quarter. We gave Dell a thumbs-up last week for that performance, based on preliminary data from IDC that showed the company making gains against rival Hewlett-Packard both in North America and worldwide.

This week we're giving CEO Michael Dell another round of applause for giving the channel credit for those gains. Dell said his company's channel server sales are growing faster than its direct sales. "We have channel momentum," he said.

Considering that Dell was once seen as the evil empire, attributing its server market-share gains to the channel demonstrates once and for all that the company has put its direct-sales-only past behind it.

Adobe Moves Aggressively To The Cloud

Adobe made a gutsy move this week when it put a stake in the ground, saying it will no longer add new features and functions to its Creative Suite packaged application set. Going forward it will only continue developing Creative Cloud, the year-old cloud edition of such mainstay Adobe applications as Photoshop, Dreamweaver and Premier Pro.

Software vendors have struggled to judge how quickly they should move to the cloud, trying to gauge how fast their customers and channel partners are willing to change. Adobe is saying it's time to make the move -- a stance one partner said should motivate customers who have been waffling about embracing cloud computing.

Not everyone's happy about this: There's a petition on Change.org signed by nearly 4,000 customers demanding that Adobe "eliminate the mandatory Creative Cloud subscription model." But using CDs to distribute software is so last century.

EMC Promises Simpler, More Profitable Partner Program

EMC is overhauling its decade-old Velocity Partner Program, promising that the new program will help break down barriers between different types of channel partners and streamline how EMC works with each.

Channel executives, speaking at the EMC Global Partner Summit this week, said the new EMC Business Partner Program would improve how the company works with its different types of channel partners. While more details would have been nice, the executives promised the new program would make things simpler, more predictable and more profitable for partners. The company also will replace its Powerlink system, part of EMC's partner portal for accessing partner information, which has been criticized for being too cumbersome.

The channel now accounts for 60 percent of EMC's revenue. With their promises this week company execs showed they recognize that keeping its channel program a well-oiled machine is critical.

McAfee Acquires Firewall Innovator Stonesoft

Helsinki, Finland-based Stonesoft is seen as one of the most innovative companies in the enterprise firewall software arena. This week security giant McAfee struck a deal to acquire the company for $389 million in a move that will bolster its enterprise intrusion prevention and next-generation firewall technology offerings.

Stonesoft's Evasion technology detects attempts by custom malware to avoid network detection over several layers of a corporate network. McAfee said it would use Stonesoft's products to grow its network security business, integrating the technology with other McAfee products as part of its "Security Connected" strategy.

HP Trumpets Its SDN Lineup

Hewlett-Packard may have management and organization issues to work through, but this week it proved that it's still a technology innovator when it showed off its new software-defined networking (SDN) products at Interop.

SDN is one of the industry's hottest technology areas right now. So people are taking notice of HP's new FlexFabric series of physical and virtual switches, which executives have called the company's biggest data center-related announcement in recent years. While officially announced last week, their appearance at this week's Interop show in Las Vegas marked their public debut.