5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

The Week Ending March 7, 2014

This week's roundup of companies that came to win include Google's new channel program; Samsung's vertical market initiatives planned for the channel; market share gains by Android tablet makers; new cloud backup offerings from Datto; a big venture capital win for a cloud hosting startup; and an acquisition that makes a German systems integrator a major channel player in the U.S.

OK, we know, that's six. With The Channel Company's XChange Solution Provider conference taking place in Los Angeles this week, there was just too much going on to stick to just five items.

Google Launches Three-Tier Channel program

Looking to drive demand for its cloud services, Google this week launched an expanded channel program to recruit partners with the skills and expertise to work with its Google Cloud Platform.

Until now, Google has worked with technology partners that sell tools that are integrated with the platform, and service partners that provide consulting and implementation services. But now the company is rolling out a full-scale, three-tier channel program, offering partners everything from basic training resources up to premier-level services and economic incentives to pursue cloud opportunities.

Partners say Google has the technology to challenge Amazon in the cloud market. Enlisting the channel to help it get there is a smart move.

Samsung Outlines Channel Growth Plans For 2014

Samsung channel executives, speaking at this week's XChange Solution Provider conference in Los Angeles, renewed the company's commitment to the channel and detailed plans to focus on specific vertical markets such as health care, education, finance and retail.

In an XChange keynote speech, Marketing Vice President Todd Bouman said making Samsung easier for partners to work with is a major goal for the company. Developing a partner portal is a priority, he said, as is creating advisory boards to get more input directly from partners. (XChange is operated by The Channel Company, parent company of CRN and CRN.com.)

Android Tablet Makers Gain Market Share

Tablet computers based on Google's Android mobile OS accounted for 61.9 percent of all tablet sales worldwide in 2013, leaving other tablets -- even Apple's iPad -- in the dust. Tablet sales worldwide grew 68 percent last year, according to Gartner, reaching 195.4 million units. Of those, an impressive 61.9 percent (almost 121 million) were Android-based tablets, up from 45.8 percent of all tablet sales in 2012. That makes winners out of such companies as Samsung, Asus, HP and HTC, which market Android tablets. Apple grew its sales of iPad tablets from 61.5 million units in 2012 to 70.4 million units last year. But that wasn't enough to keep its market share from slipping from 52.8 percent in 2012 to 36 percent last year. Sales of Windows-based tablets, meanwhile, barely exceeded 4 million, or 2.1 percent of the global market. (Caveat: IDC warns that tablet sales growth will slow to "only" 19.4 percent this year.)

Datto Expands SMB Channel Offerings In Data Protection, Cloud Backup

Storage vendor Datto expanded its data protection product lineup this week with new versions of its hybrid on-premise and cloud system, as well as its first NAS appliance with cloud backup capabilities.

The new offerings, unveiled at The Channel Company's XChange Solution Provider conference in Los Angeles, provide Datto's channel partners with more opportunities to go after SMB opportunities, Datto CEO Austin McChord told XChange attendees.

Venture Capital Tsunami: DigitalOcean Reaps $37.2M In Financing

Cloud hosting company DigitalOcean pulled in an impressive $37.2 million in Series A financing this week, arming the New York-based company for a possible head-to-head battle with Amazon Web Services.

DigitalOcean is a fast-growing Infrastructure-as-a-Service provider, offering scalable virtual private servers (called "droplets" in DigitalOcean parlance) for as little as $5 a month. Venture capital powerhouse Andreessen Horowitz provided most of the new financing. The company had raised $3.2 million in a seed round.

Acquisition Makes German Technology Integrator A Major Channel Player

Cancom Group, an $800 million technology integrator based in Germany, has acquired Pleasanton, Calif.-based HPM Networks, a leading solution provider that will provide Cancom with the foundation for a U.S. midmarket cloud-computing offensive.

HPM, a major channel partner for Hewlett-Packard, VMware and other vendors, has provided IT infrastructure and services to some of Silicon Valley's biggest companies, including Facebook and Twitter. HPM was No. 87 on the CRN 2013 Solution Provider 500 list, with $270 million in annual sales.