IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

ICYMI: Our Channel News Roundup for the Week of April 18th

Earnings season financial reports, mini-tsunamis of new products from Amazon Web Services and Acer, and proof that driving a computer on wheels can have its drawbacks are among the newsworthy stories you may have missed this week. By Rich Freeman

Let’s face it: We’re as tired of offering excuses as you are of reading them. So let’s cut to the chase. There was lots of news in the SMB channel once again this week that we didn’t have time to tell you about. Until now, that is.

Stock ExchangeSeason’s greetings. It’s earnings season once more on Wall Street, which means plenty of opportunities to see how leading tech vendors—and by extension the tech industry as a whole—are performing in the marketplace. We told you about Intel’s mixed-bag results a few days ago, but here’s a quick peek at how some other IT bellwethers are doing:

  • Google parent Alphabet missed analyst expectations on both earnings and revenue, due largely to the increasing portion of its revenue tied to lower-margin mobile advertising.
  • AMD posted a 13 percent quarter-over-quarter and 19 percent year-over-year revenue decrease, which it attributed largely to declining sales of semi-custom systems on chips (like those used in gaming consoles) and notebook processors.
  • EMC, which disclosed flat earnings per share and a two percent revenue drop, also said its deal to become part of Dell remains on track.
  • IBM continued its difficult transition into cloud services, reporting both a 34 percent jump in cloud revenue and its 16th straight quarterly dip in overall revenue.
  • Microsoft reported a year-over-year revenue decrease from $21.8 billion to $20.6 billion. Office 365 revenues grew 63 percent and Azure revenues rose 120 percent, but those impressive figures were both down a little from the prior quarter.
  • SAP recorded a 35 percent year-over-year jump in cloud subscription and support revenue, but just a five percent increase in total revenue. Operating profits, on the other hand, were a hefty 28 percent higher than in Q1 of 2015.
  • VMware, which has issued disappointing numbers in recent quarters, beat analyst expectations this time around, fueling a 12.87 percent increase in its stock price through yesterday’s trading session.

Microsoft - MetalogixThat earnings statement wasn’t the only story about Microsoft in the news this week. The company also entered into a new joint venture with Metalogix to migrate on-premises Microsoft SharePoint users over to SharePoint Online. Of course, Metalogix isn’t the only company out there with SharePoint migration capabilities. Is Microsoft suddenly playing favorites with its cloud partners? Should other makers of Office 365 migration tools be nervous?

No and no, at least as far as the team at Seattle-based Office 365 migration, backup, and management specialist Skykick is concerned.

“It’s pretty par for the course,” says co-CEO Todd Schwartz of the Metalogix deal. “We’re seeing a lot more partner-to-partner plays like this.”

Evan Richman, the other half of Skykick’s CEO duo, concurs. “They're always looking for tools to help them do what they're doing,” he says of Microsoft.

So false alarm, then. But while we’re on the topic of Office 365 migration…Microsoft also added new user adoption services to its FastTrack “customer success service” for Office 365 buyers, including best practices guidance and end-user training. Ensuring that newcomers to its cloud-based collaboration suite actually utilize the licenses they purchase is a constant preoccupation for Microsoft, which knows that businesses are unlikely to renew a subscription that ends up being shelfware. Giving away free adoption materials seems like a sensible use for some of the cash in Microsoft’s deep pockets.

In other cloud-related news from the big M: The Project Portfolio Dashboard apps that Microsoft previewed last year are now available in Apple iPad and Web-based editions. The new tools help businesses, or the channel pros that support them, quickly create graphical, at-a-glance project and task status reports.

Amazon InspectorNot to be outdone by their cross-town rivals…Amazon Web Services used the first of this year’s three North American AWS Summits in Chicago to unleash a flurry of cloud-related announcements of its own:

  • Amazon Inspector, an automated security assessment tool previously in public preview, has entered general availability.
  • Users of Amazon’s Elastic Block Store storage solution now have two new hard disk drive-based options for cost-effectively handling throughput-intensive and big data workloads.
  • Companies looking to migrate data into Amazon’s S3 storage service now have two simpler, faster ways to do so: Amazon S3 Transfer Acceleration, which speeds up data transfers 50 to 500 percent on average, and a new 80 terabyte edition of Amazon’s Snowball data transfer appliance.
  • And if you need to migrate applications to Amazon’s cloud along with all that data, the new AWS Application Discovery Service can help you simplify the planning process by collecting configuration and usage data from on-premises systems automatically.

Acer Aspire S 13And Amazon isn’t the only A-list vendor that churned out a stream of product announcements this week. There’s also Acer, which unveiled the following at a press conference in New York City yesterday:

D-Link AC1900 EXO Wi-Fi RouterAnd the new products just keep on coming.

Good deed indeed. Looking to help busineses impacted by recent flooding in the southern U.S. get back on their feet, StorageCraft is making a free, three-day version of its ShadowProtect BDR solution available in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The offer stands until May 20.

This week’s stats ticker:

And here’s one more stat your employees will soon be using to demand a raise. According to employment marketplace Glassdoor, 19 of the 25 highest-paying companies in America at present—including Google, Microsoft, SAP, Twitter, and VMware—sell or service technology of one kind or another.

Tesla Model XBuggy buggy. Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk has been known to call each of his company’s software-driven vehicles a “computer on wheels.” Alas, some of his customers are now discovering how apt that metaphor is, because just like some wheels-free computers the recently-released Tesla Model X appears to be experiencing technical glitches. According to multiple media reports, buyers of the new SUV are having trouble unlocking and opening its falcon-winged doors, and having equal difficultly getting those doors to stay shut. It must be great fun to discover after a long, hard day at the office that your $80,000+ car needs a re-boot.

About the Author

Rich Freeman is ChannelPro's Executive Editor

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