Yeah, we know. Valentine’s Day is still a week and a half away. But we’re not into giant teddy bears or candy bouquets around here. We’re writers, after all, so we insist on giving love poems to our significant others this time every year. Long love poems. In anapestic tetrameter. Worth the effort, but it does take a little while, which is why we once again failed to write up a bunch of stories you’ll probably find interesting.
It’s hard to feel pity for Amazon. Yet we do a little. After all, the present-day retail and cloud giant (and soon to be shipping giant as well?) reported a 22 percent year-over-year net sales spike for its fourth fiscal quarter and a 27 percent jump for 2016 as a whole yesterday. Yet those eye-popping numbers actually disappointed hard-to-please investors, who had driven Amazon shares down 3.27 percent as of press time.
And we haven’t even gotten to Amazon Web Services yet. Its net sales grew 47 percent in Q4 and 55 percent during 2016 overall. And sure, both of those figures are down from their equivalents last year (when AWS recorded a 69 percent net sales gain in Q4 and a 70 percent increase for all of 2015). And yes, cross-town rival Microsoft’s Azure cloud service racked up a 140 percent gain in that company’s most recent quarter. But, um, 55 percent people. Shouldn’t that generate a little excitement with someone, somewhere?
(By the way and in case you’re wondering, if we at ChannelPro ever enjoy a 55 percent net sales uptick you will never hear the end of it.)
Apple, on the hand, gets no pity. Nor do they need it, because on Tuesday the company (which may or may not be planning to make its own ARM processors, by the way) reported record revenue for Q1 of its 2017 fiscal year. More importantly, after three straight quarters of declining sales, Tim Cook & Co. also reported a record 78,290 iPhone shipments and an 18 percent surge in revenue from iCloud, Apple Music, and other services. Happy holidays indeed, Applers.
No numbers but plenty of news. From Microsoft, that is. Nothing earth shattering, mind you, but we do see promise in the new add-in capability that lets developers link third party software with Microsoft’s Outlook mobile email client. Evernote and Trello integrations are among the first wave, along with a connection to the social media CRM system from Nimble Software LLC, which is not to be confused with Nimble Software Systems, the company that shipped a suite of SMB workforce optimization solutions a couple of weeks ago, or Nimble Storage, which announced an alliance with Lenovo in October.
Enough with the Nimbles, folks!
But back to Microsoft. This week’s revelations from Redmond also included word that:
- The virtualized edition of StorSimple, which was previously available only to volume licensing customers with an Enterprise Agreement, now supports a variety of subscription options including a pay-as-you-go one that should appeal to SMBs.
- You can now have your Azure invoices emailed to you, instead of downloading them.
- Azure AD now offers tighter control over access privileges.
- Azure Stream Analytics has picked up a bunch of new capabilities, including geospatial functions capable of factoring location-based data into your real-time number crunching.
- Azure SQL Database and SQL Data Warehouse users can now execute queries from directly within the Azure Portal, thanks to a new in-browser query editing tool.
- Some new Azure training courses (including one for AWS experts) have joined Microsoft’s Azure MOOC library.
What’s with all the security product news lately? Ah yes, the 2017 RSA Conference is coming up soon, and vendors must be getting a head start before the security announcement gusher gets started in earnest. Here’s what we learned this week:
- Comodo has extended its Advanced Endpoint Protection solution to Mac OS X and Linux devices.
- Fidelis has shipped a new cloud-based, subscription-priced edition of its intrusion prevention solution.
- Fortinet has extended its Security Fabric to the Internet of Things.
- LookingGlass has announced a new appliance designed to protect networks from malware and phishing attacks based on the very latest real-time updates to its threat intelligence database.
- ThreatConnect added two new analytics tools to its threat intelligence platform.
- ThreatQuotient rolled out an updated version of its threat intelligence solution, along with a new integration program for software developers and a new professional services team.
- Threat Stack announced three new security solution bundles tailored to different organizational maturity levels.
And yes, that’s three separate security vendors with Threat at the start of their name. Too many Nimbles. Too many Threats.
It wasn’t all about security vendors this week. We also discovered that:
- Aerohive has shipped a new cloud networking solution with prices starting at $229 per access point.
- Bitglass has added support for Amazon Web Services and custom SaaS apps to its data protection platform.
- Cisco has equipped its Tetration Analytics data center management solution with automated policy enforcement capabilities.
- DH2i has released an updated edition of its DxEnterprise Windows Server container virtualization and management solution with new support for Oracle databases.
- Newly named unicorn Dropbox has introduced a cloud-based storage solution for Windows and Mac end points, a new collaboration solution, and new Dropbox Business pricing plans that start at $12.50 per user per month.
- Google has added new access controls and data loss prevention capabilities to its G Suite productivity offering.
- Juniper has launched a new data center framework for creating and managing hybrid, multi-cloud environments called Unite Cloud.
- NetApp has shipped a new line of speedy, compact all-flash storage arrays with connectivity to public clouds from Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM.
- Sharp has shipped a giant 90-inch LCD display for digital signage solutions (pictured).
- VMware has issued two new editions of its NSX network virtualization solution, one each for vSphere and heterogeneous environments.
Yup, we’ve got more vendor goodies for you. Such as these news items:
- Arrow Electronics unveiled an agreement to distribute Ingenue's machine-to-machine connectivity technology for Internet of Things solutions.
- Avnet became the newest distributor of hybrid cloud interoperability solutions from HotLink.
- Citrix completed the handoff of its GoToMeeting videoconferencing product (pictured) to LogMeIn.
- WaaS vendor CloudJumper purchased a bundle of MSP and ISV partners that actively deploy WaaS and/or cloud application delivery solutions.
- F5 Networks named a new president and CEO.
- IndependenceIT announced an agreement to make its Cloud Workspace suite available via the interworks.cloud marketplace.
- Intermedia revealed that its acquisition by private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners has closed.
- Kaspersky Lab rolled out a revised partner program with enhanced financial incentives and added regional sales resources, plus a series of U.S. partner summits.
- Verizon rolled some business units for midsize companies and enterprises together with its Verizon Small Business group and re-dubbed the whole thing Verizon Business Markets.
This week’s stats ticker:
- The percentage of U.S. SMBs using SaaS applications will reach 94 percent by the end of this year, according to Techaisle.
- Global shipments of tablets plunged 15.6 percent in 2016, according to IDC.
- 81 percent of ransomware detected in corporate environments during 2016 occurred in North America, according to Malwarebytes.
- 22 percent of organizations that suffered a data breach in 2016 lost customers as a result, according to Cisco.
Smart bags. And we don’t mean smart luggage, as in suitcases that can re-charge your devices and weigh themselves. We’re talking about the limited edition “Party Safe” bags that Frito-Lay has created for its Tostitos corn chips. Available just in time for the Super Bowl, they feature a sensor capable of detecting alcohol on your breath.
And if you do turn out to be one of the people responsible for the $1.2 billion worth of beer that football fans will consume this Sunday, the green steering wheel on the bag’s exterior will turn red and the words “don’t drink and drive” will appear, along with a code you can use to get $10 off an Uber ride during or after the game. And hey, it gets even cooler: Thanks to built-in NFC technology, all you’ve got to do to summon Uber is tap the bag with your smartphone.
And at this point, you can begin to understand why this is a limited edition product. The bag must cost many times more to produce than the chips it contains. We applaud the ingenious effort to keep inebriated motorists off the road (executed in partnership with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, by the way) just the same. And even more loudly than we do those apps that prevent you from drunk dialing.