5 Companies That Came To Win

The Week Ending Aug. 2

The battle for control of Dell has see-sawed back and forth, but this week's developments leave company founder and CEO Michael Dell with the advantage.

Other companies and executives that came to win this week include Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman and a key appearance at a channel partner event, a new release of Windows that makes a start toward overcoming the software's original flaws, a new converged infrastructure system that targets big data applications, and a mobile management vendor that scored big with a surprising hire.

Michael Dell Strikes New Deal With Board

Is Michael Dell gaining the upper hand in his efforts to take Dell, the computer maker, private? This week Michael Dell and investment partner Silver Lake inked a deal with the Dell special committee overseeing the buyout vote, agreeing to raise his offer to $13.75 a share and adding a special dividend of 13 cents per share.

CEO Dell is battling to take the company private in an offer valued at more than $24 billion. But activist investor Carl Icahn, who opposes the deal, has blocked his efforts.

The shareholder vote, scheduled for Aug. 2, has been delayed until Sept. 12. Earlier in the week Icahn sued in an effort to hold the vote Aug. 2. But with his enhanced offer and new agreement with the special committee, Michael Dell might be gaining the upper hand.

HP's Whitman Keynotes Nth Symposium, Emphasizes Partner-Centric DNA

Hewlett-Packard President and CEO Meg Whitman took the stage at Nth Generation's annual conference this week where she told a packed audience that HP has returned to its roots as a customer- and partner-centric company. She also said businesses should trust their solution providers to support their installed HP technologies.

Whitman's appearance was a win for Nth Generation. Getting Whitman to address its customers was a major endorsement for the solution provider and longtime HP partner. It's also a win for HP, which is working to rebuild its credibility with customers and partners. Whitman is smart not to miss an opportunity like the Nth Symposium to do both.

Microsoft Offers Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview

Microsoft took a small step this week toward getting Windows 8 on track when it made Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview available for download. The software adds features for customizing the software's much-maligned Start screen and managing access to files and remote networks.

The channel has been less than enthusiastic about Windows 8 since it debuted in October. Customers have been slow to adopt it, citing the operating system's radical touch-centric overhaul and such changes as the elimination of the software's Start button. Solution providers, in fact, have been busy replacing Windows 8 in new PCs with Windows 7 for customers.

While the Windows 8.1 design isn't a major departure from 8.0, Microsoft and its channel partners are hoping that the changes will help boost its acceptance in the marketplace.

Fiberlink Hires Apple Exec To Build Mobile Channel Program

Fiberlink probably isn't the most visible company in the crowded market for mobile device management products. But it scored a coup when it recruited Francois Daumard, an Apple executive who has spent the past couple of years building a mobility channel program at that company.

Daumard, who worked at Microsoft before joining Apple, is now Fiberlink's director of channel development. Sources told CRN this week he's expected to oversee a major expansion of the company's channel program.

Fiberlink sells a cloud-based mobile device management product that helps businesses resolve the growing bring-your-own device challenge.

NetApp And Cisco Launch FlexPod For Big Data Applications

NetApp and Cisco this week debuted an addition to their jointly developed FlexPod line of converged infrastructure systems specifically targeting big data workloads. The move is the first by the two companies to push FlexPod into the hot area of data-intensive applications.

The new FlexPod Select combine's NetApp's E-series and FAS storage lines with Cisco's UCS servers and its Nexus and Catalyst switches and management software. The system comes with either the Hortonworks or Cloudera distribution of the Hadoop big data software.

Channel partners said the new product would help them get into the business of offering customers big data as a service to their customers.