5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

The Week Ending Oct. 23

Topping this week's roundup of companies that came to win is Google for its aggressive move to compete in the cloud applications space by offering free Google Apps for Work subscriptions for organizations using competing cloud software.

Also making the list this week are Western Digital's $19 billion deal to buy SanDisk, Dell's launch of new hardware and cloud services at Dell World, channel partner applause for AT&T's new partner program offerings, and Amazon Web Services' blockbuster third quarter.

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 Goes On The Offensive With Google Apps

Finding itself under increasing pressure from Microsoft Office 365 in the cloud productivity applications market, Google delivered a counterpunch this week by offering free Google Apps for Work accounts to midmarket customers under contract with rival vendors.

Google said it would provide the applications for free for the duration of a customer's contract with Microsoft or any other competitor. The offer is good for businesses and government agencies with up to 3,000 cloud application users. And Google will pay up to $75,000 to companies making the switch to help cover the cost of the transition.

The initiative has something to offer channel partners as well: Google will pay solution providers $25 per user to subsidize the costs of creating new customer accounts.

Western Digital To Buy SanDisk For $19B

The Dell-EMC deal wasn't the only multibillion-dollar acquisition on the table this week. Hard drive manufacturer Western Digital struck a deal to acquire SanDisk, a developer of flash memory chip products, for $19 billion in cash and stock.

The move was dramatic proof that the fast-evolving data storage industry is moving away from magnetic disks in favor of solid-state flash memory.

The demand for flash memory is soaring – while demand for magnetic disks is declining – because tablet computers and smartphones store data on flash memory chips. Buying SanDisk will help Western Digital remain a significant player in the data storage industry.

Dell Debuts Advanced Servers And Storage Systems, Teams With Microsoft On Hybrid Cloud

While Dell's deal to buy EMC has been in the spotlight, Dell hasn't been sitting still on other fronts. This week at the Dell World conference, the company made some significant moves that will further its efforts to be a one-stop-shop for all things enterprise data center.

Topping the list are the new high-performance storage systems and sub-hyperscale servers the company introduced. On the storage side the new SC9000 features the new 6.7 version of the Dell Storage Center operating system and can scale to more than 3 PB of raw capacity. Also introduced were the Dell XC6320hyper-converged infrastructure appliance, based on the Nutanix software stack, and the first in the vendor's Datacenter Scalable Solutions line of servers.

Beyond hardware, Dell also made a strategic move in the cloud computing arena, unveiling a new hybrid cloud service based on Microsoft's Azure platform.

Partners Applaud AT&T Channel Program Additions

AT&T has been steadily expanding its Partner Exchange program with new service offerings for solution providers. This week, at the second annual AT&T Partner Exchange Summit, the communications giant promoted five of its latest program additions that help partners build recurring revenue streams and bring more value to customers.

Partners say the initiatives are working. At the summit partners said they are seeing success with such recently introduced services as Network Operations Center-as-a-Service, Marketing-as-a-Service, and the Mobility Employee Sponsorship Program. Also winning applause was AT&T's decision to make its Order Status Tool widely available to the channel, allowing solution providers to view and track status updates on customer orders.

Another highlight of the summit was the new Enablement Playbook, an interactive, self-service guide to help partners make use of Partner Exchange resources.

AWS Stuns Wall Street With Q3 Revenue Growth

If there was any doubt about Amazon Web Services' dominance of the public cloud service market, it's gone.

AWS reported revenue of $2.09 billion for the company's third quarter, up a whopping 78 percent from the same quarter last year and up 15 percent from the second quarter. As part of Amazon's third-quarter earnings call, CFO Brian Olsavsky said AWS also became more profitable, expanding its profit margin to 25 percent compared with 21.4 percent in the second quarter.

Under Senior Vice President Andy Jassy (pictured), AWS has enhanced its cloud platform with 530 significant new features this year. It's also dropped its prices eight times since April 2014.