5 Companies That Came To Win

The Week Ending July 19

We may be getting into the dog days of summer, but some vendors aren't ready for vacation just yet. This week's roundup of companies that came to win include AT&T, which made a key acquisition; Hewlett-Packard, for the important additions it made to its board of directors; a leading cloud service provider that took off the gloves and broke out some competitive blogging; a CRM application developer that rolled out new software; and a smartphone maker that hasn't had a lot of good news lately got a much needed break.

AT&T Moves To Acquire Leap Wireless

AT&T this week disclosed a deal to acquire prepaid wireless provider Leap Wireless in a move AT&T said will help grow its 4G LTE deployments and better support the growing number of Internet-enabled devices tapping into its network.

AT&T is paying $15 a share, or roughly $1.2 billion, for the San Diego-based Leap Wireless. AT&T will acquire all of Leap's wireless properties, including its 3G and 4G LTE network assets and its retail stores.

The acquisition will jump-start AT&T's expansion into the highly competitive prepaid wireless service segment. It also gives the telecommunications giant access to Leap's unused wireless spectrum, the radio frequency or airwaves that mobile operators need to transmit their wireless signals.

HP Expands Board Of Directors, Adds Industry Luminary Ray Ozzie

Hewlett-Packard has been going through some turbulent times in recent years and some observers have pointed fingers at the company's board of directors as a source of the company's problems.

So it's welcome news this week that the company is adding three high-profile members to the board, including Raymond Ozzie, one of the industry's best-known technologists. Ozzie led the development of the ground-breaking Lotus Notes application, later served as Microsoft's chief software architect and is currently managing the startup Talko.

Also joining the board are Robert Bennett, former president and CEO of Liberty Mutual, and James Skinner, former CEO of McDonald's -- both of whom bring significant business experience to HP.

Rackspace CTO Calls Out Amazon Over Dedicated Instances Claim

Hosting service provider Rackspace went on the competitive offensive this week when company CTO John Engates said rival Amazon Web Services was inflating the value of discounts on its EC2 instances announced earlier this month.

Engates said in a blog that even though AWS chopped prices on EC2 instances by as much as 80 percent earlier this month, they still cost more on a total-cost-for-performance basis than do true dedicated servers, like the ones Rackspace offers.

Rackspace, Engates said, is more focused on support and performance than it is on offering the lowest unit prices. Rackspace's cloud offering delivers more value for the dollar to customers when these factors are taken into account, he said.

Salesforce.com Boosts Core CRM Apps With New Sales Tools

Salesforce.com has ambitions to become the go-to vendors for all kinds of cloud technologies. But, vendors with such broad ambitions sometimes stumble by losing sight of their core market.

So, Salesforce gets kudos this week for having launched two add-on applications to its cloud-based CRM platform. While Salesforce offers collaboration apps (Chatter), a development platform (Force.com) and other cloud-based services, its Sales Cloud CRM and sales force automation application remains the company's bread and butter.

The new Data.com and Work.com add-ons are packaged together as the company's Sales Force Accelerator. Data.com helps users find sales lead, customer and business data more quickly, while Work.com helps sales managers motivate and coach sales representatives.

Nokia Lumia Sales Beat BlackBerry

With the smartphone market dominated by Apple and Samsung, Nokia must take its victories wherever it can find them.

So there was a silver lining to Nokia's second-quarter results this week -- including a 24 percent decline in sales to 5.7 billion Euros -- in that shipments of Nokia's Windows Phone-based Lumia smartphone surpassed BlackBerry's phone sales.

Nokia shipped about 7.4 million Lumia phones between the beginning of April and the end of June. That was more than the 6.8 million BlackBerry phones shipped during the same period. The two device manufacturers are essentially battling it out for third place behind Apple's iPhone and companies that sell Android-based phones.