5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

The Week Ending Feb. 20

This week's roundup of companies that came to win include a significant retail distribution deal for BlackBerry, partner applause for Microsoft's efforts to grow Outlook sales on iOS and Android, Hewlett-Packard's aggressive move to compete with Cisco in network switches, Verizon's ambitious channel expansion plans through distributors, and Samsung's acquisition of mobile payment system LoopPay.

BlackBerry Scores AT&T Deal, Wins Partner Applause

BlackBerry continues to show signs of rejuvenation. This week the mobile device maker struck a deal with AT&T under which the telecommunications giant will carry the BlackBerry Passport and Classic smartphones in its retail stores starting Feb. 20.

Partners said the win is a vote of confidence for BlackBerry and will go a long way toward helping the company reclaim some market share in the U.S. Before now the Passport and Classic were available only through BlackBerry and Amazon.

Partners Cheer Microsoft's Polished Multiplatform Outlook Apps

BlackBerry wasn't the only company winning partner kudos this week. Microsoft has given its versions of its Outlook applications for iOS and Android devices a face-lift and solution providers like what they see.

Microsoft's emphasis on strengthening its email, calendar and contacts app collection across multiple mobile platforms is further evidence the company is shedding its Windows-centric view of the world. Partners said life has been made easier for them, as the enhanced applications for iOS and Android promote interoperability for their clients.

HP Goes On The Offensive With Open-Source Network Switches

Hewlett-Packard this week debuted a new line of open-source, white-label network switches for the data center that will put a financial squeeze on the networking market leader and competitive rival Cisco Systems.

Solution providers said the move will provide them with an alternative to Cisco's network switch line -- products based on Cisco's proprietary technology and which generally bring the vendor high margins.

Cisco's response to the HP move was to question the level of market confidence in HP's ProCurve H3C switch portfolio and what Cisco suggested was a lack of innovation in the product. This battle is just getting started.

Verizon Enlists Ingram Micro To Drive Massive Partner Expansion

Verizon Enterprise Solutions is making an ambitious bid to significantly expand its solution provider base. And this week the telecom giant recruited Ingram Micro -- specifically the distributor's mobile business unit -- to help it.

Verizon has concluded that it needs alliances with top distributors in order to grow its channel ecosystem beyond the 1,000 partners it works with today. The company has plans to expand its partner efforts into other segments including OEMs, ISVs and systems integrators, Global Channels Vice President Adam Famularo told CRN.

Verizon began working with distributors Tech Data and Synnex in 2013, making Ingram Micro the third broadline distributor the company has allied itself with.

Samsung Targets Apple Pay With LoopPay Acquisition

Samsung threw its hat in the mobile payment ring this week with the acquisition of LoopPay, finally giving the smartphone vendor its alternative to Apple Pay.

Burlington, Mass.-based LoopPay touts its Magnetic Secure Transmission technology as a contactless payment offering that turns mag stripe readers into mobile contactless receivers without changes or costs for the merchant or client.

"There's so much revenue to be earned from this move. As long as Samsung's mobile wallet is secure, consumers absolutely would want this system," said Steven Kantorowitz, president of New York-based Samsung partner CelPro Associates.