IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

ICYMI: Our Channel News Roundup for the Week of August 15th

Intel’s entry into ARM processors, cool new gaming PCs from HP and Lenovo, and an exciting new partnering opportunity for people without a conscience are all among the stories you may have overlooked this week. By Rich Freeman

So we really meant to seize the opportunity presented by last week’s vacation and cleanse ourselves of bad habits. Like failing to write about huge volumes of stories that channel pros ought to know about, say. As things turned out, however, we ended up sleeping a lot and drinking heavily instead, so here we go again with another recap of news that we should have reported this week but didn’t.

Flying pigHey, wait a minute, was that a pig that just flew by? It must have been, because the biggest, or at least most interesting, story out of this week’s Intel Developer Forum is that the x86 kingpin will soon be manufacturing 10 nanometer processors based on (gasp!) ARM technology through its Intel Custom Foundry service, which designs and manufactures processors for third-party clients. Can’t say we saw that one coming, but it’s a smart move for a chip maker whose performance in the mobile space that ARM dominates has been lackluster. Indeed, Intel’s new if-you-can’t-beat-’em spirit is already bearing fruit: Mobile giant LG will be one of the first OEMs to buy Intel-made ARM cores.

In a more predictable announcement that counts as a milestone nonetheless, Intel also revealed that the first of what will eventually be a broad portfolio of silicon photonics products are now shipping in volume. Designed for use in large data centers struggling to keep pace with explosive demand for switch-to-switch connectivity, silicon photonics combines two of the last century’s biggest innovations—silicon-based integrated circuits and frickin’ laser beams—to move large amounts of information cost-effectively over distances up to several kilometers at 100 gigabits per second.

Project AlloyNoticed anything unusual about those two big stories from the Intel Developer Forum? They have more or less nothing to do with development. Not to fear, though, because Intel had plenty in store for the coding set as well, including:

  • A new compute module for Internet of Things developers called Joule that’s designed to pack lots of memory and 4K video into a tiny, power-sipping package.
  • Some nifty new tools for Intel’s depth and motion sensitive RealSense camera technology.
  • A new “merged reality” solution called Project Alloy that’s designed to be a bit more immersive than augmented reality technologies but more in touch with the physical world than virtual reality systems, plus an associated, cord-free headset (pictured) and freshly inked alliance pact with Microsoft to promote the creation of a merged reality ecosystem by equipping Windows 10 with a new Windows Holographic shell sometime next year.

Microsoft Heart LinuxNot that Microsoft has forgotten about that whole cloud computing thing. Last month during Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference, senior business strategy analyst Jen Sieger spoke to ChannelPro about the e-books and other educational resources Microsoft is developing to help its partners ready themselves for the cloud era. This week, she unveiled her team’s latest effort towards that end, a cloud profitability benchmarking tool that cloud resellers can use to assess and strengthen their cloud maturity. And in case that’s not enough to slake your thirst for Microsoft news tidbits, we also learned this week that:

  • The PowerShell command line scripting tool is now open sourced and running on Linux (and, hey, there goes another flying pig!)
  • Mac users now have access to a free tool for migrating Evernote content into Microsoft OneNote, just like the one that’s reportedly helped Windows users transfer 71 million Evernote pages since March.

HP OMEN desktopFun! Games! Germany! They’re three words that naturally go together, are they not? Well, they did this week, anyway, at the gamescom 2016 conference in Cologne, where Logitech introduced a new gaming mouse, SPEEDLINK introduced two mice plus a gamepad, Turtle Beach debuted three new headsets including one for virtual reality games, and Lenovo unveiled two new high-powered gaming PCs. And though it wasn’t officially tied to gamescon, it’s no coincidence that HP chose this week to ship two new gaming PCs of its own, the bad-ass OMEN desktop (pictured) and laptop.

And here’s another non-coincidence: The new Lenovo and HP gaming rigs all feature GeForce GTX processors based on NVIDIA’s speedy new Pascal architecture.

Honor 8OK, why fight it? Let’s just open the floodgates already and let the product news flow!

  • Amazon Web Services added hourly pricing for its Amazon WorkSpaces desktop-as-a-service offering.
  • Google put its Cloud SQL Second Generation database, Cloud Bigtable, and Cloud Datastore database services into general availability.
  • Honor, a mobile hardware division of Huawei, shipped the Honor 8 (pictured), its first flagship smartphone for the U.S. market.
  • Kensington launched the MicroSaver 2.0, a new laptop lock designed for use with the skinniest of skinny notebook PCs.
  • Nintex released a new edition of its Drawloop Document Generation application, which streamlines the production of proposals, invoices, contracts, and other oft-needed documents.
  • The aforementioned NVIDIA announced new versions of its also aforementioned GeForce GTX GPUs for notebook computers.
  • Parallels rolled out Parallels Desktop 12 for Mac, a new version of its program for running Windows, Linux, Google Chrome, and other OSes on Apple hardware. This one supports the forthcoming MacOS Sierra platform.
  • Salesforce supplemented its existing salesperson-oriented email solution with a new salesperson-oriented calendar application.
  • Tableau shipped version 10 of its eponymous analytics system.
  • Zultys announced a new edition of its MX unified communications software.

David ShimoniAnd we’ve got even more fixes for all you vendor newsaholics out there.

This week’s stats ticker:

  • 40 percent of SMB employees in the U.S. and U.K. use the same passwords for multiple business systems, according to AVG.
  • Nearly 95 percent of SMBs use or plan to use a cloud hosting service, and 72 percent have changed web hosting providers in the last five years, according to Clutch.
  • Global workspace-as-a-service revenues will grow at a 12.1 percent CAGR through 2022 to $18.37 billion, according to Transparency Research.

Ransomware partnerRansomware authors—they’re just like us! If only in the sense that they apparently have channel partners too. As a fascinating new report from researchers at Check Point reveals, the person(s) responsible for a ransomware variant called Cerber pulled in $78,000 in July of this year alone with the help of a distribution scheme that involved affiliates (i.e. resellers) dispersing the malware in exchange for a percentage of the money collected from victims (i.e. sales commissions). On an annualized basis, that comes out to $946,000 worth of Bitcoins, which as Check Point observes is “a hefty sum with few direct costs.”

Unless, that is, the folks behind Cerber get serious about this whole channel deal and start staging partner conferences. And if that ever happens, here’s a tip: Do not plug that free USB thumb drive you got in the expo hall into anything.

About the Author

Rich Freeman is ChannelPro's Senior News Editor