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ICYMI: Our Channel News Roundup for the Week of December 5th

A second run at porting Windows onto to ARM devices, a new Wintel PC initiative, and an example of channel friction involving cookies rather than computers are all among the stories we didn’t get to this week. By Rich Freeman

You might think we grow weary of contrition sometimes here at ChannelPro. And if so, you’d be right. I mean, how many times must we bow our heads and beg forgiveness for failing to report so much of what happens in the industry we cover?

Once more, you say? Fine. Have it your way.

Qualcomm SnapdragonWhat the (Win)HEC? Looks like we need one more act of forgiveness from you, for that lame pun. Then we can move on to belatedly discussing Microsoft’s announcement this week, at its WinHEC hardware engineering conference in China, that it’s taking a second stab at porting Windows onto the ARM chip architecture, this time in partnership with Qualcomm. The company’s first attempt, you’ll recall, produced $900 million worth of unsellable Surface RT tablets, so the decision to make a version of Windows compatible with the processing platform used by most of the world’s smartphones and tablets once more couldn’t have been an easy one.

The big difference this time around, though, is that new emulation technology will enable ARM-based hardware to run x86-based Windows software, so buying WinARM devices won’t require you to part ways with applications you would otherwise spend most of your day in. Which just might be enough to make Microsoft a player, if not a leader, in mobility.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for that day to arrive though. Microsoft says Windows devices equipped with Qualcomm Snapdragon chips “are expected to be in market as early as next year,” which sounds a lot like “2018” to our cynical ears.

Mixed RealityRiddle us this. Qualcomm is partnering with Microsoft. Qualcomm is also entering the server processor market. A Qualcomm server processor is bad news for Intel. But Intel is partnering with Microsoft too, this time on:

  • An initiative called Project Evo aimed at spurring development of next-generation PCs equipped with mixed reality capabilities, advanced security functionality, and far-field speech communication technology for rapping with Cortana from across the room.
  • Integration between Intel Security’s True Key authentication system and Microsoft’s Window Hello sign-in technology.

So good news week for the Wintel alliance or no?

Here’s a somewhat less philosophical question. Will the forthcoming Creators Update edition of Windows that Microsoft announced in October come with new Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection features, integration between the Windows Security Center and Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection, mobile application management functionality, and a retooled approach to update installation that will reduce downloads by roughly 35 percent?

Why, yes. Yes it will.

New and improved! With 99 percent less racism! Much as Microsoft is taking a second run at the ARM platform it’s also braving the chatbot waters again, this time with an artificial intelligence named Zo who scrupulously avoids discussing anything with you that could lead it say something patently offensive, like its forerunner Tay.

GIGABYTE keyboardAnd we trust you won’t find this list of product announcements from the week that was offensive either. You will find it lengthy, however.

  • AccelStor announced a new all-flash storage array that’s over 16 percent faster than its predecessor.
  • BlackBerry took a big step from hardware vendor to software maker by releasing a comprehensive mobile- and cloud-focused security solution for what it calls the “Enterprise of Things.”
  • Cisco introduced a new monitoring and management tool for its 100-500 Series networking products.
  • Dell Boomi launched a new edition of its cloud integration platform with an enhanced UI, additional connectors, and new governance and security features.
  • Dell EMC shipped a new hyperconverged infrastructure solution based on VMware’s VxRail platform.
  • DocuSign shipped an updated release of its eSignature and digital transaction management software with new capabilities for users in the financial services and real estate verticals, among others.
  • Fujitsu added web-based scanning, new file uploading capabilities, and more to its PaperStream Server document processing platform.
  • GIGABYTE shipped a slew of new gaming peripherals including cases, coolers, headsets, and a sleek aluminum keyboard (pictured).
  • IDrive added a new web viewer to its remote access solution.
  • IGEL introduced a USB-bootable “micro thin client” device that measures 22.4mm x 12.2mm x 6mm.
  • Kaseya shipped the PSA migration tool it announced last month.
  • KnowBe4 launched a new tool for assessing how gullible users are by subjecting them to simulated business email compromise attacks.
  • Malwarebytes introduced a new security solution that uses a mix of traditional signature-based and newfangled signature-less technologies to guard against malware, ransomware, exploits, and malicious websites.
  • NEC announced that its collaboration solutions now feature 4K touchscreen displays.
  • The Ruckus Wireless division of Brocade shipped a new entry-level network switch optimized for SMBs.
  • StorageCraft released a new backup product for Office 365 data.
  • Zyxel introduced a new family of cloud-managed networking solutions that let users administer multiple networks at multiple locations through a single console.

Graham McBethOK, catch your breath. Because there’s more coming from vendorville.

Perfecto! The Human Rights Campaign’s new corporate equality index, which measures how well employers respect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees, features 517 companies with an unimprovable 100 rating. Turns out tech companies were pretty heavily represented on it, with AMD, Apple, Cisco, Citrix, Dell, Dell EMC, Dropbox, Eaton, Google, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, HP, IBM, Intel, Intuit, Lenovo, Lexmark, Microsoft, NVIDIA, Oracle, Qualcomm, Salesforce, SAP, Tech Data (for the 12th straight year!), and Xerox all making the list.

This week’s stats ticker:

  • 64 percent of small businesses will give their employees a year-end or holiday bonus, up from 52 percent two years ago, according to SurePayroll.
  • 19 percent of organizations use intelligent digital assistants like Microsoft’s Cortana and Apple’s Siri for work-related tasks today and 46 percent plan to do so within five years, according to Spiceworks.
  • The average lifespan of the more than 400,000 phishing attack websites detected every month in 2016 was less than 15 hours, according to Webroot.
  • Las Vegas, Memphis, and Stockton, Calif., are currently the three most frequently victimized cities for ransomware in the U.S., according to Malwarebytes.

Holiday OreosDelicious disintermediation. Turns out IT isn’t the only industry where partners have to worry about vendors going direct. Grocers learned this week that Mondelēz International is selling special holiday-themed tins of its OREO cookies, bathed in white fudge, straight to consumers via a new website. And while that particular product is available for a limited time only, this won’t be the last time the self-described “global snacking powerhouse” does an end around retailers. Mondelēz says this new venture is part of a larger e-commerce effort aimed at generating $1 billion of incremental revenue globally by 2020. Call it channel friction if you must. We just call it delectable.

About the Author

Rich Freeman is ChannelPro's Senior News Editor