The 17 Biggest News Stories Of 2017

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5. Newly Merged Dell EMC Goes On The Offensive, Launches New Partner Program

Dell completed its $65 billion acquisition of storage giant EMC in September 2016, creating an IT industry heavyweight and channel powerhouse. As 2017 got under way the real questions were where and how the newly created company would compete and, for hundreds of Dell and EMC partners, what the new Dell EMC channel program would look like.

On Feb. 4 Dell EMC executives unveiled a single partner program with the stated goal of offering the most profitable partner program in the industry. The program, for instance, doubled the storage system rebates from the legacy EMC program and rewarded partners for selling converged and hyper-converged systems. The vendor also said it would pump $150 million into partner incentives in the coming fiscal year.

In November Dell EMC doubled-down on the channel with a slew of new partner incentives, a new services toolkit, tier protection and a partner program tracking tool.

Dell EMC, meanwhile, aggressively expanded its product portfolios and marketing efforts in server, networking and storage systems (including an aggressive push into all-flash storage) to compete head-to-head with other industry heavyweights including Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Cisco and NetApp.

Is it working? There have been bumps along the way, but the company seems to have momentum. In the third quarter, for example, Dell's worldwide server sales grew 37.9 percent year-over-year to exceed $3 billion, according to IDC, and its market share surged from 15.7 percent to 18.1 percent – putting it within striking distance of No. 1 HPE.

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