5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

The Week Ending June 3

Topping this week's roundup of companies that came to win is PC Connection for its acquisition of Softmart, which owns the coveted status of being a Microsoft Licensing Solution Provider.

Also making the list are Salesforce, which won applause from partners for its $2.8 billion acquisition of digital commerce provider Demandware; and SolidFire, which unveiled a new way to price all-flash storage arrays.

But the week wasn’t all about acquisitions and new offerings. Also making the list were Pluribus Networks, which hired two channel veterans to lead its North American sales efforts, and Verizon, after the telecom giant reached a tentative agreement with two labor unions whose members had walked out on strike in April.

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.

PC Connection Buys Softmart

PC Connection fortified its Microsoft software volume transaction business by purchasing Softmart, a 200-person solution provider stalwart with well-defined hardware, cloud and Office 365 practices.

Softmart enjoys Microsoft's coveted Licensing Solution Provider status, making it – like Merrimack, N.H.-based PC Connection – one of only a handful of North American Microsoft partners authorized to handle software volume licensing transactions.

Softmart, based in Downington, Pa., was founded in 1982 and generated approximately $200 million in sales in 2015.

Salesforce Acquires Digital Commerce Firm Demandware, Winning Partner Approval

Channel partners cheered Salesforce's $2.8 billion acquisition of digital commerce company Demandware, saying the deal will help them tap into the booming e-commerce business and offer a more holistic platform.

Salesforce, the San Francisco-based cloud powerhouse, said Tuesday that it would acquire Demandware, based in Burlington, Mass., to create a new product line for a new business division: the Salesforce Commerce Cloud.

Solution providers told CRN that the deal helps Salesforce and its partners tap into the e-commerce space, which has been growing rapidly as retailers continue to expand their online presence.

SolidFire Unveils New Licensing Model For All-Flash Storage

NetApp's new SolidFire business unveiled a significant new way to price all-flash storage arrays that includes a perpetual license for the software and separately prices the hardware to give customers flexibility in how they want to deploy their storage.

SolidFire's new FlashForward Capacity licensing program allows customers with large and fast-growing data stores to acquire the software and hardware separately, said Dave Cahill, SolidFire's senior director of product and strategy. FlashForward is a new storage consumption model for customers that are getting used to Opex, agility, simple scaling, and other cloud-driven topics, said John Woodall, vice president of engineering at Integrated Archive Systems (IAS), a Palo Alto, Calif.-based solution provider and a partner of both NetApp and SolidFire.

The company also previewed some of the new capabilities of the next version of its flash storage operating system, and introduced a new all-flash storage appliance.

Pluribus Networks Adds Sales Exec Muscle

As it prepares to pounce on the growing software-defined networking market, Pluribus Networks hired a pair of channel veterans to lead its North American sales charge as it pushes to become a 100 percent channel company.

Todd Dalton, a former North American channel leader at Arista Networks, will help lead the channel charge as its new senior director of America channel sales West at the SDN startup, the company said. Before Arista, Dalton worked for nearly a decade at Juniper Networks as a senior partner sales manager.

Pluribus also hired Ron Falbo to head its North America channels East. Falbo was previously a channel account manager for SD-WAN specialist Talari Networks, and had executive channel experience at Unisys, Synnex and Ingram Micro.

Verizon Reaches Tentative Deal With Unions

Much to the relief of its channel partners, telecom giant Verizon reached a tentative contract agreement with two unions that represent nearly 40,000 employees who had walked out on strike for close to seven weeks.

Those workers, who belong to the carrier's wireline business unit, returned to work Wednesday. Verizon and the two striking unions -- the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers -- met at the bargaining table over the Memorial Day holiday weekend before reaching a deal.

"We're certainly experiencing effects from the strike," said one solution provider executive and Verizon partner who requested anonymity. "FOC [firm order commitment] dates are being missed. Then, somebody may show without notice."

Union members are expected to approve the new contract terms by June 17.