5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

The Week Ending March 18

Topping this week's roundup of companies that came to win is Alphabet's Google, which CRN reported this week scored a win in its bid to become an enterprise cloud computing powerhouse by landing Apple as a customer for the Google Cloud Platform,

Also making the list are Dell for its aggressive rebate offer to help partners take market share from rivals Cisco and Hewlett Packard Enterprise ; Amazon Web Services and Microsoft for their efforts to recruit Oracle database customers; HP Inc.'s ground-breaking plan to use its online store to work with partners instead of competing against them; and Pure Storage's latest additions to its all-flash storage array lineup. 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.

Google Scores Major Coup, Wins A Piece Of Apple's Cloud Business

Efforts by Alphabet's Google to become an enterprise cloud computing powerhouse got a major boost when CRN reported this week that the company landed Apple as a customer for the Google Cloud Platform.

Sources told CRN that in the deal signed late last year Apple is spending between $400 million and $600 million for Google Cloud Platform services, although that could not be independently confirmed.

Until now Apple is believed to have relied heavily on Amazon Web Services' infrastructure to run some of its iCloud and other services: Morgan Stanley recently issued a report estimating that Apple has been spending around $1 billion annually on AWS. The sources said Apple remains an AWS customer.

Dell Wields Aggressive Partner Rebate To Win Share From Cisco, HPE And Juniper

Going on the offensive, Dell introduced an aggressive rebate for partners that can win new business for Dell's storage and networking gear. The offer is aimed squarely at gaining market share against rivals Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Cisco Systems and Juniper Networks, according to Dell channel chief Cheryl Cook.

Dell began offering 15 percent back-end rebates that effectively more than double similar existing rebates. The move also extends the rebates into the hot market for converged infrastructure systems where Dell has a relationship with Nutanix.

Cook called the new rebate program "disruptive and attractive" and said it was designed to capture market share from rivals – Cisco in particular. The rebate marks the first time Dell has created an incentive specifically around winning new business rather than growing revenue.

Amazon, Microsoft Launch Efforts To Steal Oracle's Database Customers

Dell wasn't the only IT vendor going on the competitive offensive this week. Microsoft and Amazon Web Services each took aim at Oracle's database business with offerings designed to make it easier for customers to switch from Oracle's flagship software.

AWS officially debuted the AWS Database Migration Service, helping customers migrate on-premise Oracle Database, MySQL (also owned by Oracle), Microsoft SQL Server and PostgreSQL production databases to the AWS cloud. AWS said a preview version of the service had already moved more than 1,000 databases to the cloud since Jan. 1.

Microsoft, which debuted SQL Server 2016 last week, is running a campaign offering free Microsoft licenses to convince prospects to migrate their data from the Oracle Database to SQL Server. The offer, which ends June 30, requires that customers sign up for Microsoft's three-year Software Assurance volume licensing subscription.

HP Moves To Leverage Online Shopping Site To Drive Sales Leads To Partners

IT vendors with online shopping stores generally use those sites to sell directly to customers, operating them separately from – and sometimes even competing with – the vendor's channel partner business.

This week HP Inc., the printer and PC company created last year through the split of the former Hewlett-Packard, unveiled a plan to utilize its HP.com online store to drive sales leads to commercial partners.

Under the plan, starting May 1 the sales teams behind HP.com will no longer be measured on sales volume through the site, but rather on the number of transactions they drive to partners in HP Inc.'s sales regions. The shift means that HP.com will no longer be its own P&L competing with partners for sales, but instead become a lead-generating machine for the channel.

Pure Storage Debuts Sub-$50K All-Flash Arrays, Systems For Unstructured Data

On the technology front, Pure Storage wins kudos for pushing the storage technology envelope this week in ways that should expand the market for flash storage systems.

The company debuted a new architecture called FlashBlade specifically designed for unstructured data – all those documents, video and audio files, social media postings and other non-numeric data that make up a huge and growing part of most businesses' stored information. FlashBlade is a combination of high-performance, all-flash storage and software needed for running cloud-scalable unstructured data platforms.

Pure Storage also pushed the boundary in terms of price/performance with its first entry-level, all-flash storage array priced at less than $50,000. The company is counting on the new FlashArray//m10 to lower the price barrier and expand the potential market for all-flash array systems to new customers, including SMBs.