5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

The Week Ending Aug. 16

This week's roundup of companies that came to win include gains by Dell and Lenovo in the computer server and mobile computer market, respectively. Also making the winner's circle this week is IBM, which captured a big-bucks cloud computing contract, BlackBerry's efforts to salvage its future, and plans by a cloud and virtualization software company to step up its channel efforts.

Dell Gains In Global Server Market In Q2

Dell gained ground on server market leader Hewlett-Packard as it grew its global server unit shipments in the second quarter, according to numbers from market researcher IDC provided to CRN by an industry source.

Dell shipped 552,486 server units in the quarter, up 4.8 percent, according to the IDC numbers. That put it only 28,684 units behind market leader HP, whose global server unit shipments declined 13.6 percent in the quarter to 581,170 units. Overall HP remains No. 1 with a 30 percent share of the worldwide server market, followed by Dell with 28.6 percent.

IBM's server unit shipments declined 8.4 percent in the quarter to 200,985 units, giving the vendor a 10.4 percent share of the global server market.

IBM Wins $1 Billion Cloud Computing Government Contract

IBM this week said it was awarded a 10-year, $1 billion contract to provide cloud computing services to the U.S. Department of the Interior. Under the contract the Department of the Interior will use IBM cloud computing technologies, services and hosting as it moves to a cloud architecture.

The IBM products and services on the department's shopping list include the IBM Smart Cloud for Government and Smart Cloud for Enterprise services, running in the IBM Federal Data Center, and the IBM AIX Cloud.

IBM has been struggling lately, mostly because of slowing sales of its server hardware products. This win shows that the company remains a significant force in the IT services arena and is a major player in the industry shift to cloud computing.

Lenovo Earnings Soar As Tablet, Smartphone Sales Outpace PCs

While the rest of the PC industry remains in a profound slump, Lenovo continues to buck the trend.

Lenovo, already the world's No. 1 PC maker, reported a 9.7 percent increase in revenue to $8.79 billion in its first fiscal quarter. Most of that growth came from sales of Lenovo tablet computers and smartphones, which collectively increased 105 percent in the quarter. The company is now the world's fourth largest smartphone seller, and mobile devices account for 14 percent of its total revenue.

Laptop computer sales, which account for 52 percent of Lenovo's revenue, increased 4.7 percent. Sales of traditional PCs were flat -- but that's in a market where world PC shipments were down 11 percent, according to market researcher IDC. In a shrinking market, "flat" is the new "up."

Embotics Presages Channel Push With New Executive Team

Virtualization and cloud software developer Embotics overhauled its executive team this week in a move designed to help drive 100 percent of sales of the company's vCommander platform through the channel.

Embotics named Michael Torto, former CEO of cloud software startup rPath, as its new CEO. He takes the reins from founder Jay Litkey, who remains as president. The company also named John Ross, a 20-year IT industry veteran and former chief technology officer at solution provider GreenPages Technology Solutions, as Embotics' first-ever CTO.

While Ottawa, Canada-based Embotics launched a global channel program in 2008, it only has a small number of U.S. partners. But the company plans to stage a major channel offensive around vCommander, Ross told CRN, moving to a 100 percent channel model.

BlackBerry Considers Survival Options, Including Going Private

Struggling BlackBerry disclosed this week that it is exploring "strategic alternatives," including possibly selling the company or taking it private.

The move shows that BlackBerry executives, who often seemed in denial about the company's dire situation, are at last acknowledging the need to make a major change. It also shows that the company is facing up to the fact that the BlackBerry 10, on which the company had long pinned its hopes for survival, won't be enough to turn around the company's fortunes.

Despite the BlackBerry 10 launch earlier this year, the company reported an $84 million loss in this year's first quarter and lost 4 million subscribers. It's definitely time for a new strategy.