5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

The Week Ending May 23

This week's roundup of companies that came to win include Cisco's expanded security efforts, Lenovo's seemingly unstoppable momentum in the PC market, Microsoft's decision to expand channel partners' ability to sell its Azure cloud service, AT&T's bid for DirecTV and The Channel Company's launch of a new website and a new cloud computing conference.

Cisco Steps Up Security Game With New Appliances, Acquisition

Cisco Systems took some significant steps this week to expand its security technology offerings. Topping the list is a deal for Cisco to acquire ThreatGRID, a provider of malware analysis and sandboxing technology, in a move the company said would strengthen the FireAMP malware detection platform it gained through its $2.7 billion Sourcefire acquisition.

Cisco also extended its Advanced Malware Protection line with two new AMP FirePOWER appliances targeting organizations that require higher levels of network protection. And the company grew its line of ASA firewalls with a new virtual appliance and a high-performance firewall for data centers.

Microsoft Moves To Expand Azure Sales Through The Channel

In an effort to leverage its legions of channel partners to compete against rivals Amazon Web Services and Google, Microsoft this week said it would let partners resell its Azure cloud services through its Open Licensing program starting Aug. 1. The plan is seen as a bid to keep SMB customers from defecting to AWS and Google.

Microsoft customers are currently restricted to buying Azure services directly from Microsoft or as part of an Enterprise Agreement. Under the Open Licensing plan, Microsoft's huge base of channel partners can buy Azure services from distributors and resell them to customers.

Lenovo Reports Explosive Q4, Fiscal 2014 Growth

PC manufacturer Lenovo continues to grow its sales and gain market share in the volatile PC arena. This week the company reported that revenue for its fourth quarter ended March 31 grew nearly 20 percent year over year to $9.6 billion, spurred by strong PC and smartphone sales. Quarterly earnings soared almost 25 percent to $158 million.

That's all the more impressive given that worldwide PC shipments from all vendors declined 2 percent in the first quarter, according to research firm Gartner.

For all of fiscal 2014 Lenovo's revenue grew more than 14 percent year over year to $38.7 billion. Net earnings for the year were up more than 29 percent to $817 million.

AT&T Makes $48.5 Billion Play For DirecTV

AT&T struck a deal this week to acquire DirecTV in a move that would allow it to offer video, broadband and mobile services through the two companies' thousands of resellers to an enormously expanded customer base. The move is seen as an effort by the communications service provider to more effectively compete against rival Verizon Communications.

The move could mean expanded opportunities for AT&T partners. All this follows the plan the company unveiled in February to pump $300 million into new partner training and financing programs.

The Channel Company Launches New Media Site For Elite Channel Executives

The Channel Company, publisher of CRN and CRN.com, this week launched ITbestofbreed.com, a media site that offers solution providers the tools they need to stay competitive as they tackle technology challenges and transform their business models.

That launch came on the heels of Monday's announcement of The Channel Company's new NexGen Cloud Conference & Expo, the first partner-centric, cloud computing conference aimed at providing vendor-neutral content developed for solution providers delivering cloud services. The conference will be held Dec. 3 to 5 in San Diego.

In other news, the CRN Tech News App for iOS and Windows 8 took home top honors this week at min's Digital Awards in the category of Tablet App (free).