5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

The Week Ending Sept. 27

This week's five companies that came to win wrap-up includes blockbuster sales of Apple's new iPhone 5, technology advancements displayed at Oracle's OpenWorld conference, Hewlett-Packard's latest moves in big data, an AT&T-Microsoft cloud alliance, and the end of a hated tech tax in Massachusetts.

Apple Sells 9 Million New iPhones in Most Successful Launch Yet

If there was any doubt whether Apple's iPhone remains a popular item, all anyone had to do was look at the sales numbers for the first weekend of availability of the new iPhone 5S and 5C.

Apple said it sold 9 million units of the new iPhone 5 models, which went on sale Friday, Sept. 20. Apple did not break down sales between the two models, but said it had sold out of its initial supply of iPhone 5S units.

There's been a lot of hand-wringing about the future of the iPhone in the last year as sales of Android-based smartphones accelerate. But as sales of the new iPhone models show, the demand for Apple's smartphones is still very much there.

Oracle Demonstrates Its Technical Prowess At OpenWorld

The comeback victory by Oracle's sailboat in the 34th America's Cup competition captured most of the headlines from San Francisco. But at its annual OpenWorld show this week, Oracle demonstrated that its IT products continue to push the technology envelope as much as the sleek racing yacht it backed.

In his opening keynote, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison showed off the company's new in-memory database technology that he said improves database query speed by a factor of 100. The system will compete head-to-head with SAP's Hana in-memory database, which has been getting a lot of attention this year.

Oracle also expanded its cloud offerings with new compute, storage and database cloud services. Thomas Kurian, Oracle executive vice president of product development, called the company's cloud development efforts the "single most important project" on which Oracle is currently working.

Solution Providers Win As Massachusetts Legislature Repeals Tech Tax

Massachusetts' state legislature voted this week to repeal the deeply unpopular sales tax on software services that was implemented almost two months ago.

The votes in the state's House and Senate marked a victory for the Massachusetts IT industry, especially for solution providers who complained the law was vague as to just which services the 6.25 percent tax applied. They also said it created huge headaches in added record-keeping chores and hassles in customer billing.

The outcome was a win for the Massachusetts high-tech community as it demonstrated its ability to flex its political muscle once it united around an issue.

HP Rolls Out New Big Data Service While Haven Platform Gains Momentum

Hewlett-Packard made significant progress this week to establish itself as a player in the market for big data products and services.

This week the company's Enterprise Services Group launched a cloud-based analytics-as-a-service offering aimed at letting customers easily test-drive big data solutions. The service includes data models, connectors and accelerators combined with technical expertise, all based the vendor's Haven big data platform.

HP this week also said that Haven is itself gaining momentum among the company's partner base, with 120 solution providers now signed up to sell at least one piece of the Haven portfolio. Haven was launched three months ago as the core of the company's big data initiative.

AT&T, Microsoft Team To Boost Azure Enterprise Adoption

While the number of businesses adopting cloud computing continues to grow, some IT managers still can't get past the security concerns they have around turning some or all of their computing operations and data over to services outside their firewall.

This week AT&T and Microsoft struck a partnership under which AT&T will pair its virtual private network (VPN) technology with Microsoft's Windows Azure public cloud platform. The move will allow businesses to connect to Windows Azure using their VPN, completely bypassing the public Internet, which can be vulnerable to attacks, outages and other risks.

Solution providers told CRN that security concerns sometimes hinder enterprise cloud adoption and moves such as the AT&T-Microsoft alliance are a significant step toward removing those barriers.