5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

The Week Ending July 12

A new No. 1 in the PC market leads this week's roundup of companies that came to win. Also on this week's list is a notebook maker that's gaining market share, a networking vendor that's beefing up its channel partner program, and a couple of strategic acquisitions by a major IT company. Oh, and Michael Dell's plan to take his company private got a boost.

Lenovo Becomes The World's No. 1 PC Maker

Lenovo is now the worldwide PC market leader, surpassing longtime PC champ Hewlett-Packard, according to second-quarter unit shipment numbers released this week by market researcher IDC.

Lenovo shipped 12.6 million PCs in the quarter, according to IDC, compared with HP's 12.4 million units. Dell, Acer and Asus round out the list of the top five PC vendors.

But Lenovo's rise may be a Pyrrhic victory, given that IDC said the worldwide PC market as a whole declined 11.4 percent in the second quarter and every vendor -- including Lenovo -- recorded declining sales. Lenovo gained the No. 1 spot because its sales dropped less than its rivals.

Google's Chromebook Success Bucks PC Slump

Lenovo isn't the only standout in the otherwise lackluster PC arena. A report issued by The NPD Group this week said that in the last eight months Google's Chromebook notebook computers have grabbed 20 percent to 25 percent of the U.S. market for laptops priced at less than $300.

Google introduced the bare-bones Chromebooks in 2011 and, according to NPD, they are the fastest-growing part of the PC industry. Sales of notebooks priced at less than $300 account for about 15 percent to 20 percent of the overall U.S. notebook market. NPD said Google's success is in stark contrast to the struggles Hewlett-Packard, Dell and other major companies are having as PC sales plummet.

EMC Makes Strategic Acquisitions, Integrates Data Protection Products

EMC took several steps this week to strengthen and broaden its data storage and protection product offerings.

EMC started off the week saying it will acquire Aveksa, a developer of identity and access management software, in a move industry analysts said could bolster the data governance product portfolio in the company's RSA Security division. Later in the week EMC disclosed a deal to buy ScaleIO, a startup developing elastic converged storage technology that will boost EMC's software-defined storage strategy.

In between those announcements, EMC introduced an across-the-board upgrade of its data protection software, hardware and services, with an emphasis on better integrating what has been a disparate collection of technologies.

Michael Dell Wins Backing For Buyout Bid

Influential proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholders Services recommended this week that Dell shareholders accept CEO Michael Dell's $$13.65-per-share leveraged buyout offer to take his company private. The ISS recommendation was seen as giving Dell's $24.4 billion plan a boost over opposition from investor Carl Icahn, who has waged a campaign to wrest control of the company away from its founder.

In recent weeks Michael Dell's bid to take the company private had run into serious headwinds as the special committee on managing potential privatization and buyout deals was under pressure to consider alternatives.

Sonus Networks Updates Partner Program

Sonus Networks' partner program may only be a year old, but there's always room for improvement. This week the company revamped its Sonus Partner Assure Program, a key component of the company's efforts to evolve from an exclusively carrier-focused company to a major player in the enterprise session border controller (SBC) market.

The partner program now features a two-tiered structure through which partners can purchase Sonus products from distributors including Westcon, ScanSource and Distribution Central. Sonus said that will arm partners with more pre- and post-sales technical support. Also new are an online quoting tool, technical support documentation, and enhanced training materials such as Webinars and on-demand courses for both sales and technical teams.

Sonus now has some 300 partners and the channel accounted for roughly 17 percent of the company's revenue in the first quarter of 2013, a number that's expected to grow to between 20 percent and 25 percent by the end of this year.