IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

ICYMI: Our Channel News Roundup for the Week of February 22nd

A collection of stories worth knowing about that you may have missed By Rich Freeman

You’re not really surprised, are you? ChannelPro has once more failed to say anything about a whole bucket load of SMB channel stories. Here are the ones most worthy of your attention.

Winners and losers, but let’s face it mostly losers. On Monday, we predicted interesting things from AVG, HP, and Ingram Micro when those companies posted quarterly numbers this week, and all three came through like champs.

Gary KovacsLet’s start with AVG, which was frankly the only one in the bunch with good news to share. The security and managed services software maker reported record revenue for both the final quarter of its 2015 fiscal year and the year as a whole, plus a 15 percent year-over-year spike in quarterly subscription revenue. Moreover, those accomplishments were only slightly dampened by CEO and managing director Gary Kovacs’s acknowledgment during a post-announcement conference call that the part of AVG’s business nearest and dearest to a channel pro’s heart, the SMB segment, “is not yet meeting our expectations for overall growth.”

As for HP, well, the best that can be said of its dismal numbers, issued on Wednesday, is that they weren’t exactly a surprise given the equally dismal state of the PC and printer markets at present. Revenues dropped 12 percent in the first quarter of the hardware maker’s 2016 fiscal year versus the same period a year ago, driving HP’s share price down more than four percent yesterday despite HP’s all too predictable promise to compensate for its weak performance by laying off 3,000 employees this year, rather than the mere 1,200 it promised to dump last September.

Last but far from least to chime in was Ingram Micro, which revealed yesterday that global sales in its fiscal fourth quarter were down 13 percent from the prior year’s Q4 on a currency neutral basis. CEO Alain Monie blamed a series of mostly one-time anomalies for that slump, but investors pushed the company’s stock down sharply anyway for a time in after-hours trading until savvier investors realized that every dip in Ingram Micro’s share price (which stood at $35.84 when markets closed on Thursday) was just a little more profit for them to collect when would-be owner Tianjin Tianhai Investment Co. Ltd. pays $38.90 a share later.

Samsung Gear 360Accessories make the mobile. Snazzy new smartphones and tablets got most of the glory at this year’s Mobile World Congress, but mobile hardware vendors put some interesting smaller gadgets on display as well, including:

Kumbaya. Elsewhere on the mobile front, the makers of MaaS360, AirWatch, MobileIron, and other mobility management platforms have jointly launched the AppConfig Community, which seeks to make securing and administering mobile apps via mobility management platforms a simpler, more consistent process.

I Heart SecurityIt’s raining cloud security enhancements in Redmond. Microsoft’s purchase of mobile app development vendor Xamarin drew so many headlines this week that one could easily have missed the long list of forthcoming security goodies that chief information security officer Bret Arsenault rattled off in a blog post yesterday. And we do mean long. Seriously, we don’t have enough digital ink to describe them all, but some highlights include:

  • Microsoft Cloud App Security, a tool for securing data in SaaS applications based on technology that Microsoft acquired last September along with security software vendor Adallom.
  • Customer Lockbox for SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business, which is like the Customer Lockbox for Exchange Online product Microsoft introduced last December in that it lets customers grant support technicians temporary access to their cloud-hosted data, but unlike that system in that its name is an even worse mouthful. We’re probably better off referring to it by the far simpler acronym “CLfSPOaODfB” instead.
  • New management and reporting capabilities in Azure Security Center, a new Power BI Dashboard for examining security trends and attack patterns, and much, much more.

Microsoft Hub KeyboardAnd speaking of goodies from Microsoft. Also potentially lost in the shuffle this week were two freebies from the ever-interesting Microsoft Garage experimental project incubator: Hub Keyboard, a new app for Android devices that lets you grab information from other apps without switching out of the app you’re using, and Sprightly, an Android app that helps SMBs create marketing materials. Both products reached users just days after the release of digital notetaking app Plumbago, by the way, and have us wondering how long Microsoft Garage can keep up this crazy pace.

And because we know you simply can’t get enough products announcements…Here are some more:

Meanwhile, from the world of partner programs. Cloud security vendor Skyhigh Networks has created a new one, while contact center and unified communications leader Avaya has revamped an existing one.

Veepstake winners:

  • Intermedia has promoted Richard Walters, who previously headed its identity and access management unit, to senior vice president of the company’s newly-formed Security Products division.
  • Mimecast has named Alex Bender its new senior vice president of global marketing and Mark Basler its new senior vice president of product management.
  • Veeam has appointed Kevin Rooney, formerly of HP and VMware, its vice president of North America channel sales.

This week’s stats ticker:

He'll be baaackGood news! We’re one step closer to bringing The Terminator to life. OK, we’re hardly first to this story but we can’t help but note that terrifying robot maker and Alphabet subsidiary Boston Dynamics has constructed the first two-legged robot capable of chasing you down pitilessly across uneven terrain. Now if they could just get that liquid metal stuff working right…

Mm, mm, SamoasAnd finally, the reason you’ll be too slow on your feet to escape the coming killer robot apocalypse. Girl Scout cookies! That’s right, we’re all just days away from a fresh batch of Samoas, because America’s favorite charitable excuse to load up on simple carbohydrates is available once more today through March 13th. And sure, this has nothing to do with SMB technology, but who cares when there are so many fascinating yet obscure facts about Girl Scout cookies to discuss? Like the fact that they’re tax deductible. Or that they pair well with wine. Or that the ones you’re cramming in your mouth may bear little resemblance to the ones I’m scarfing down. Or that…Sorry, I lost my train of thought thinking about those Samoas. And Samoas in ice cream.

About the Author

Rich Freeman's picture

Rich Freeman is ChannelPro's Executive Editor

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