5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

The Week Ending Feb. 21

This week's roundup of companies that came to win include Hewlett-Packard's surprisingly strong first-quarter results, IPO plans from a fast-growing networking hardware vendor, critical processor design wins by Intel, savvy MSP program moves by a leading security technology company, and investors in a small messaging software company with a big price tag.

HP Reports Strong Q1, Including PC Sales Growth

Hewlett-Packard surprised Wall Street -- and just about everyone else -- when it reported better-than-expected results for its first fiscal quarter. Even more surprising was the news that HP's PC business posted a 4 percent year-over-year gain.

Thursday the computing giant reported sales of $28.2 billion for the quarter ended Jan. 31. While that was down 1 percent from the same period one year earlier, it was about $1 billion above what the Wall Street consensus had been expecting. Increased sales of personal systems and industry-standard servers bolstered the results. CEO Meg Whitman said the results are a sign that HP's comeback remains on track. "HP is in a stronger position today than we've been in quite some time," she said in a statement accompanying the earnings results.

A10 Networks Readies $100M IPO

Application delivery controller manufacturer A10 Networks gave notice this week that it plans to go public soon with an initial public offering of $100 million. The S-1 form filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission did not disclose a target price or the number of shares it plans to sell. The company also disclosed that its revenue was $141.7 million in 2013, up 18 percent from 2012, while recording a loss of $27.1 million.

A10 has a growing base of solution provider partners who have been applauding the vendor's recent channel investments. That includes hiring Hewlett-Packard channel marketing executive Kirsten Lee as its first vice president of global channels.

OEMs Give Intel's Xeon E7 v2 Processor A Thumbs-U p

Hewlett-Packard, Cisco Systems, Dell and nearly two dozen system manufacturers are using Intel's Xeon E7 v2 processor to build a new generation of servers geared toward high-performance, big data analytics workloads. The 22-nanometer Xeon chips are based on Intel's Ivy Bridge architecture and have three times the memory, four times the I/O capacity, and a total-cost-of-ownership reduction of as much as 80 percent.

The news is a boost for Intel, which has been hit by the slowdown in PC sales that reduced demand for its processors. The Xeon design wins are proof that Intel's server processor business remains strong.

McAfee Expands MSP Program Offerings

McAfee expanded its MSP program this week, making its line of network security appliances and authentication products available for purchase by managed service provider partners on an on-demand or subscription basis.

McAfee launched its MSP program last year. But until now it's been limited to the vendor's endpoint security software. Now MSPs will have access to the company's next-generation firewall line, security information event management appliance, intrusion prevention system and malware analysis sandboxing appliance through the MSP program. The company also added its authentication software via its McAfee Cloud Identity Manager and its two-factor and one-time password software. Through their MSP programs security vendors have sought to help the growing number of MSP partners reduce their up-front and/or capital expenditure costs. McAfee's program expansion is a smart move as security technology vendors compete to recruit the best MSP partners.

Facebook Pays $19B For WhatsApp

Facebook made a very bold, very expensive move this week when it struck a deal to acquire WhatsApp, a fast-growing developer of mobile messaging software, for $19 billion in cash and stock. The acquisition gives Facebook a deeper foothold in the mobile communications market and brings WhatsApp's 450 million active users into the Facebook universe (although many are probably already there). Still, it's a stunning amount of money to pay for a company with only 55 employees.

But the clear winners in this deal are WhatsApp's investors, including venture capital firm Sequoia Capital (it stands to gain $3.5 billion, according to reports), and WhatsApp co-founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton.