Yes, spring temperatures and sunny skies have returned, but that doesn’t mean we at ChannelPro were out playing golf all week instead of reporting the news. Or at least not all of us. Mostly. In any event, here’s a look at some stories worth knowing about that we didn’t get around to telling you about until now.
Intel Redux. Perhaps concerned that the media coverage of its latest earnings report last week focused on the 11 percent workforce reduction the chipmaker announced more than the strategy those cuts are intended to support, Intel CEO Brian Kzranich published an open letter to techdom on Tuesday laying out his vision for the future. In brief, it described a “virtuous cycle” in which cloud data centers packed with Intel processors, memory, and field programmable gate arrays utilize Intel’s high-speed 5G connectivity offerings to connect with a constantly expanding constellation of Intel-powered “things” on the edge of the Internet.
Two notable details about the memo:
1) It emphasizes that some of those Internet-enabled things will be PCs, suggesting the company isn’t abandoning its traditional bread-and-butter market so much as de-emphasizing it.
2) It quietly seeks to redefine Moore’s Law. According to Kzranich, the prediction made famous by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore that the number of transistors contained in integrated circuits will double every two years is alive and well, contrary to industry nay-sayers.
“In my 34 years in the semiconductor industry, I have witnessed the advertised death of Moore’s Law no less than four times,” Kzranich writes. “Intel’s industry leadership of Moore’s Law remains intact, and you will see continued investment in capacity and R&D to ensure so.”
Interestingly, though, Moore’s Law doubters have mostly been saying that processor miniaturization is slowing, not that it’s dead. Plus, there’s nothing whatsoever about the whole two-year part of Moore’s Law in Kzranich’s letter, which states that transistor densities will continue doubling but doesn’t specify a timeframe. So maybe Intel and the skeptics aren’t so far apart after all.
Elsewhere in the Wintel universe. Microsoft, which as we reported two weeks ago is eliminating at least half a dozen partner competencies, had more good news for its partners this week: The cost of earning technical certifications is about to go up. Beginning in July, prices for “MCP exams, academic MCP exams, and MTA exams” will rise by an unspecified amount, according to a somewhat obscure Microsoft blog that I strongly suspect experienced a huge traffic spike this week.
But wait, that’s not all out of Redmond. Because one news item a week is never all we get out of Microsoft. We also recently learned that:
- A new Apple OS X edition of Skype for Business is now in public preview. Signup here, Mac daddies.
- The Windows, iOS, and Web versions of Microsoft OneNote all have some nifty new capabilities.
- Microsoft is all in on the emerging OPC UA Internet of Things standard.
Open wide. Because there was plenty of news from the OpenStack Summit in Austin, Texas, to digest this week. Highlights included:
- Red Hat’s new Open Innovation Labs consulting service.
- The completion of what Verizon calls “the industry’s largest known Network Function Virtualization OpenStack cloud deployment,” a project it executed in collaboration with the aforementioned Red Hat, plus Dell and Big Switch Networks.
- A new Python SDK for OpenStack developers from all-flash storage vendor SolidFire.
Straight As. As in Apple, AVG, and Amazon, the first of which reported quarterly earnings on Tuesday that came in short of already weak analyst expectations. That plus yesterday’s revelation that billionaire investor and onetime Apple booster Carl Icahn has dumped all his stock in the company had Apple’s share price down over nine percent in the last two trading days.
AVG, which published its latest results on Wednesday, recorded five percent year-over-year revenue growth. What channel pros care about, though, is how the company’s SMB segment is performing, and the answer is not so hot, according to CEO Gary Kovacs, who asked investors to be patient:
“While the results are still falling short of our expectations, the pivot from on-premise [sic] to cloud by a new team takes time,” he said during a post-report conference call. “I believe the pieces are in place and we remain confident in our long-term prospects and based on the uptick and activities we saw toward the end of the quarter, we expect stronger bookings later in the year.”
As for Amazon, a sober assessment of the first quarter numbers it posted yesterday would be something along the lines of “holy mackerel!” Net sales rose 28 percent for the company as a whole on a year-over-year basis and a jaw-dropping 64 percent for its Amazon Web Services unit. Both figures exceeded analyst forecasts, fueling an investor feeding frenzy that had Amazon’s stock price up more than 12 percent in after-hours trading.
And while those two companies drew most of the media’s attention this week…These four SMB channel players shared financial news as well:
- Avnet said its sales were 8.3 percent lower last quarter than in the same three months of 2015, with declining server, software, and storage revenue offsetting growth in networking and services. On the plus side, the company’s recently introduced Cloud Marketplace “is gaining traction with our partners,” according to CEO Rick Hamada.
- Barracuda Networks said revenue was up 16 percent during the last quarter of its fiscal year and 15 percent for the year as a whole.
- LogMeIn reported a 30 percent revenue spike in the previous quarter and per-share earnings higher than analyst projections yesterday, driving its stock price up 8.61 percent in overnight trading.
- Symantec revised its revenue guidance for the current quarter from between $885 and $915 million to a far more specific—and lower—$873 million. The same press release identified a scapegoat for that disappointing performance too: Michael Brown (pictured in happier times), who will be resigning as president and CEO.
Product pageant. Among the more notable new releases this week were:
- Dell’s new cloud-based wired and wireless networking integration and management solution, created in partnership with cloud networking vendor Aerohive.
- dinCloud’s dinRDS, the latest addition to its hosted workspace product family.
- HP’s Chromebook 13 (pictured), which combines low-end laptop prices starting at $499 with premium laptop touches like an all-metal case just 12.9 mm in height.
- InfoArmor’s PrivacyArmor Secure, which bundles threat intelligence services with employee security awareness training.
- Samsung’s ARTIK Cloud, a set of APIs and tools for linking Internet of Things gizmos to Web-based services.
- SanDisk’s Z410, a 2.5” solid-state drive with 480 GB of capacity.
- ZyXEL’s NWA5123-AC, an 802.11ac unified wireless access point optimized for scalability.
And in case you thought rolling out products is the only thing vendors do. There were also these headlines this week:
- Security kingpin Fortinet said it will use Impartner’s partner relationship management platform to oversee its channel program.
- RingCentral announced a new alliance with Web app integration vendor Zapier that will embed its RingCentral Office solution in over 500 SaaS solutions.
- SkyKick hired a new marketing veep and two new regional general managers.
This week’s stats ticker:
- Tech spending by U.S. SMBs will hold steady at $188 billion this year, according to Techaisle.
- IT executive confidence in the U.S. economy dipped a little in the last quarter but remains “relatively healthy,” according to CompTIA.
- Global sales of cloud security solutions to SMBs will climb at a 25.7 percent CAGR between 2015 and 2020, according Allied Market Research.
- Application performance delays may be costing U.S. businesses as much as $7.5 billion annually, according to Nimble Storage.
That’s not belly fat! It’s my video library. Or at least that could be what people will be saying someday if Twist Bioscience is right about DNA being the data storage medium of tomorrow. The DNA they’re talking about is synthetic, of course, but a gram of the stuff can allegedly hold one trillion gigabytes of digital information. And if that sounds hard to believe, Microsoft apparently sees enough promise in the concept to get some testing underway.