5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

The Week Ending March 17

Topping this week's roundup of companies that came to win is Intel, which made a big-bucks acquisition move that significantly expands its presence in the connected cars technology market.

Also making the list are Oracle for its impressive revenue growth in cloud services, Lenovo for striking an alliance that shores up its storage system position, Star2Star for its offer of free training for partners, and a trio of companies that unveiled new and expanded channel initiatives 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 Five Companies That Had A Rough Week roundup.

Intel Makes Big Move Into Connected Cars Arena With $15.3 Billion Mobileye Acquisition

Chipmaker Intel struck a deal to acquire Mobileye, a developer of chip-based camera systems for automated connected cars, for a whopping $15.3 billion.

Intel has been taking big steps to move away from its reliance on the PC market, expanding its product portfolio to include technology for Internet of things, data center and virtual reality.

And technology for autonomous vehicles, including chip technology for computer vision, localization and mapping, machine learning and artificial intelligence. Last year, for example, Intel acquired Yogitech, a developer of driver assistance and functional safety technology for autonomous machines and automotive applications.

But the deal to acquire Mobileye is a big, bold move for Intel.

Oracle Reports Significant Q3 Cloud Growth, Expects Cloud Revenue To Overtake On-Prem Next Year

Oracle executives, including Chairman and CTO Larry Ellison, have been known to engage in a little competitive bluster during the company's earnings calls. This week the bluster was backed up by some pretty solid sales growth numbers for the vendor's cloud services.

Cloud Software-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service revenue reached $1.01 billion in the quarter ended Feb. 28, up 73 percent year over year. Total cloud revenue, including Infrastructure-as-a-Service, was $1.19 billion, up 62 percent from one year earlier. Those results sent Oracle's stock up by more than 5 percent in after-hours trading.

CEO Safra Catz said that next year cloud revenue should exceed new software licenses for on-premise deployment. Ellison used the analyst call as a chance to boast about Oracle's competitive cloud position against rivals Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, even calling Oracle's cloud offering more reliable than AWS.

Lenovo Shores Up Its Storage Strategy With DataCore Deal

Last week Lenovo made the "rough week" list after Hewlett Packard Enterprise threw a wrench into Lenovo's storage system strategy by striking a deal with Nimble – effectively ending Lenovo's relationship with that flash storage startup. (That followed HPE's earlier deal to buy SimpliVity, another Lenovo technology partner.)

So Lenovo wins applause this week for taking steps to reinforce its software-defined storage strategy -- and advance its data center business -- by inking an OEM agreement with DataCore through which Lenovo will integrate DataCore's SANsymphony software-defined storage with Lenovo servers.

Channel partners are still questioning whether Lenovo has a viable long-term data center storage strategy. But this week's alliance with DataCore is a step in the right direction.

Star2Star Offers Free Training To Make Solution Providers 'Dangerous' In UCaaS Market

Star2Star, a player in the unified communications-as-a-service arena, will offer its four-day onsite training course free of charge to solution providers looking to build or enhance their unified communications practices.

Starting in April Star2Star, which pursues a 100 percent channel strategy, will offer partners the free schooling to get trained on new products or to become Star2Star trained engineers. The company is even paying to fly solution providers to its headquarters in Sarasota, Fla., for training, pick up their hotel costs and even provide an onboarding marketing package worth about $2,000, according to the company.

Solution providers told CRN that the offer would make them more competitive, especially when working with Star2Star's network edge appliances, with one partner even saying the training course makes them more "dangerous" to market competition.

Ooma, Broadview Networks and OnRamp Step Up Their Channel Games

Kudos go to a trio of IT vendors who this week launched new channel programs or moved to step up their channel operations.

VoIP service provider Ooma, which debuted its first channel program seven months ago, launched a new program this week specifically aimed at Internet service providers. The program will focus on recruiting local wireless ISPs, arming them with voice services for their Internet subscribers, and helping them compete with big vendors such as Comcast and Spectrum.

Cloud-based communications provider Broadview Networks, meanwhile, is boosting its channel presence across the U.S. by expanding its ranks of channel managers and actively recruiting new partners – the latter by expanding its relationships with master agents, hiring more account management executives, and keeping its pricing model and agent bonus program competitive.

And hybrid cloud hosting provider OnRamp, which launched its partner program more than two years ago, is taking its channel focus to the next level and actively recruiting partners across the board including MSPs, VARs, master agents and sub-agents.