5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

The Week Ending Feb. 26

Topping this week's roundup of companies that came to win is Dell, whose deal to acquire EMC for $67 billion cleared a significant regulatory hurdle this week.

Also making this week's list are HP Inc. for its plans to turn about 1,500 direct customer accounts over to channel partners, Microsoft's acquisition of cross-platform development vendor Xamarin, Nimble's aggressive move against EMC and Pure Storage with a new all-flash storage array, and a trio of companies that launched partner programs this week.

Not everyone in the IT industry was making smart moves this week, of course. For a rundown of companies that were unfortunate, unsuccessful or just didn't make good decisions, check out this week's 5 Companies That Had A Rough Week roundup.

Dell-EMC Merger Deal Clears U.S. Antitrust Hurdle

Dell's planned $67 billion acquisition of storage system giant EMC reached an important milestone this week when the deal gained anti-trust clearance from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

The acquisition must still win the approval of EMC shareholders and clear other regulatory approvals. But lack of opposition from the FTC is a big deal: A number of mega-mergers have been derailed in the past when U.S. regulators decided to oppose them -- witness last year's failed bid by Comcast to buy Time-Warner for $45 billion after the Federal Communications Commission expressed opposition.

Dell also appears set to win approval from the European Commission for the deal. While there was a report the company had run into difficulty raising financing for the acquisition, this week's announcement about the FTC decision said the deal remains on track "under the original timetable and original terms."

HP Inc. Moves 30 Percent Of Direct Sales To Partners

HP Inc. this week said the PC and printer manufacturer is moving about 30 percent of its direct accounts, about 1,500 customers, to its partners as part of a stepped-up channel offensive in the services-led era.

HP Inc., created late last year through the split of the old Hewlett-Packard, does about 85 percent of its $55 billion in annual sales through partners.

HP Inc.'s view is that all accounts are moving from transactional deals to contractual relationships that require some level of customer service. And HP Inc. CEO Dion Weisler (pictured) told CRN that partners are best positioned to deliver those services.

Microsoft Acquires Mobile Cross-Platform Development Startup Xamarin

Nearly two years after CRN first reported that Microsoft was in acquisition talks with Xamarin, Microsoft finally announced a deal to buy the mobile application development tool vendor.

Xamarin's technology lets developers build native iOS and Android applications using Microsoft's C# programming language. That means they can write one code set and use it for apps that run on multiple mobile devices.

This is a big deal for application developers and Microsoft ISV partners. Mobile applications are where the action is today. And it's further evidence that Microsoft is moving beyond its Windows-centric view of the universe.

Nimble Storage Takes On EMC, Pure Storage With First All-Flash Storage Array

Nimble Storage went on a technology offensive this week, expanding its product portfolio with its first all-flash storage array system that will compete head-to-head with EMC's XtremIO and Pure Storage's FlashArray//m systems.

Product management Vice President Anjay Singh said the new Nimble AF series leapfrogs the competition – not just with the performance of the Nimble AF core systems, but also with its built-in InfoSight Predictive Analysis technology and its Unified Flash Fabric that allows all-flash and hybrid systems to work together.

Partners gave a thumbs-up to the new product and anticipated robust sales. "I think we're going to get some amazing numbers from Nimble," said Dave Hiechel, president and CEO of Salina, Kan.-based solution provider Eagle Technologies.

Skyhigh Networks, ScienceLogic And Ikanow Launch Partner Programs

This week a number of vendors across the IT spectrum launched new partner programs – something we always like to see. Topping the list this week are a trio of companies: Ikanow, a developer of open-source information security analytics software; Skyhigh Networks, a provider of cloud access security broker (CASB) technology; and ScienceLogic, a developer of hybrid IT infrastructure management and monitoring software.

Ikanow debuted the Ikanow Preferred Partner Program for resellers, integrators and service providers. The company already does about 70 percent of its business through the channel and has a goal of boosting that to 100 percent. Skyhigh launched its Cloud Technology Partner Program that's designed to help technology partners integrate their security offerings with Skyhigh's CASB system.

And Science Logic gets high-fives for its ChannelLogic program that's designed to enable VARs, a new class of partner for the company, to resell its management platform.