Channel Marker

May 22, 2008  12:38 PM

Dell Channel Blog launches with Partner Advisory Council news

Bcournoyer Brendan Cournoyer Profile: Bcournoyer

The much anticipated Dell Channel Blog made its debut today with two posts — one from Dell chief blogger Lionel Menchaca, who introduced the site, and another from channel chief Greg Davis, who wrote about the new Partner Advisory Council.

The council, judging by a picture on the blog, has about two dozen members. They met this week at Dell’s headquarters in Round Rock, Texas, and Davis said the big topics they discussed were: communication, partner profitability, building trust in the channel and reducing complexity for partners.

Menchaca’s introduction said the primary contributors to the Dell Channel Blog will be channel community manager Amie Paxton and channel community liaison Mike Bukowski. But more importantly, he gave me a shout out for earlier comments I made on the Direct2Dell blog.

Dell execs are clearly making a strong effort to reach out to partners with this blog. They know they have to if they want to erase the channel skepticism that Dell’s two-plus decades in direct sales has created. There will likely still be bumps in the road as Dell puts its channel program together, but this outreach should buy the company some patience and benefit of the doubt from partners.

May 21, 2008  1:27 PM

VMware: Microsoft is sloppy and misleading

Bcournoyer Brendan Cournoyer Profile: Bcournoyer

VMware is going on the attack yet again, slamming Microsoft in a 2,000-word missive on its Virtual Reality blog.

In case you forgot, Virtual Reality is the blog VMware set up specifically to defend itself from criticism by the media, analysts and competitors. The most recent post targets the Microsoft Integrated Virtualization ROI Tool, an online calculator that partners can use to make the business case for Microsoft virtualization.

Microsoft VMware report card“Unfortunately we had to give it a failing grade,” writes VMware blogger Tim Stephan.

The post features a pretty in-depth analysis of the assumptions and calculations that Microsoft’s tool makes in “proving” that the upcoming Hyper-V hypervisor is a better value than VMware’s products. (Microsoft’s site doesn’t mention VMware, only a “competitive server virtualization solution.” As Stephan writes, “Gee, I wonder who the competitive solution is?”)

But the best part of the blog are the no-holds-barred shots that Stephan takes at Microsoft throughout. They include:

  • “Of course the results were all hypothetical, because Hyper-V is not yet available.”
  • “Like most Microsoft version 1.0 products, the initial release of this calculator has numerous errors, contains critical design mistakes, and completely misses its mark. … Maybe we all need to wait for the SP1?”
  • “Microsoft’s tool assumes that Hyper-V will run as many VMs as VMware VI3 and deliver the same performance – we can’t wait until Hyper-V ships and prove (sic) this wrong.”

The blog also features this quiz:

Why did MSFT release such a misleading ROI/TCO model?
A) Microsoft did a sloppy and hasty job with the calculator
B) Microsoft is deliberately fudging the facts
C) Both A and B

Microsoft has been promoting its calculator to partners as they prepare to sell Hyper-V and try to chip away at VMware’s server virtualization market lead. I’m in no position to say who’s right and who’s wrong about the tool and its assumptions, but Microsoft partners might want to check out VMware’s stance before they start relying on the calculator too heavily. 

VMware has previously used Virtual Reality to accuse Microsoft of spreading lies, discredit a Yankee Group report and post “corrections” to a blog comparing VMware and Microsoft.

May 20, 2008  8:19 PM

Seized with doubt: CDW IT Monitor reflects buyer uncertainty

Heather Clancy Heather Clancy Profile: Heather Clancy

Has there ever been an economist willing to say we’re in a recession while the recession is actually happening? My own personal barometer of the economy (my husband who is a contractor) continues to have a very bizarre spring. After months of denial and a sort of lag factor, it appears that IT buyers are more nervous, too.

The CDW IT Monitor, which the reseller publishes on a bi-monthly basis, shows that slightly fewer businesses are planning to increase their IT budgets in the second half of 2008. That would be 50 percent vs. 54 percent in February. The data show that 8 percent are planning to cut their IT spending, compared with 6 percent.

CDW derives its monitor report from an online survey of about 1,000 IT decision maker reflecting all sizes of business and government agencies. You can spend some time with the complete findings here.

Generally speaking, there was less shake-up among the bigger respondents, which CDW postulates is due to the fact that budgets have already been approved (although who’s to say they can’t be cut!) CDW notes that at midsize companies, a sub-index tracking planned IT investment slipped 7 points from February to 70. There was also a 10 percent decline in the number of businesses that said they would hire IT staff in the next six months; 21 percent reported plans to hire, off 10 percent.

The good news is that the strategic value that survey respondents place on technology actually improved slightly: 83 percent reported said “yes” to notion that IT is “effective in achieving corporate mission and goals.” That was up 1 percentage point from 83 percent in February. So, that means demonstrating how technology can solve a business need is the way to make the case for a sale. Have at it.

Heather Clancy is a technology journalist and business communications consultant with SWOT Management Group. She can be reached at

May 20, 2008  11:26 AM

Dell Channel Blog now coming Thursday

Bcournoyer Brendan Cournoyer Profile: Bcournoyer

The launch of the Dell Channel Blog is now on for Thursday.

Dell had planned to introduce the blog last Friday but delayed it for unspecified reasons. The bare bones of the site are now up at, and the RSS feed is ready to go as well.

May 20, 2008  7:56 AM

Microsoft partners can now offer SharePoint consulting

Bcournoyer Brendan Cournoyer Profile: Bcournoyer

Microsoft partners now have a new service they can offer to their SharePoint customers.

The company yesterday announced SharePoint Deployment Planning Services (SDPS). Partners can become certified in SDPS and then help customers plan their Office SharePoint Server 2007 deployments. Microsoft will reimburse partners for the consultation they provide.

Customers enrolled in Volume Licensing Software Assurance are eligible to take advantage of SDPS. Partners must have a Microsoft competency in information worker portals and collaboration, enterprise content management or search to participate.

IBM is making a new push to attract SharePoint users to its Lotus Quickr platform. One of the selling points, according to IBM and its partners, is that SharePoint can quickly become unmanageable without proper planning. If it catches on, SDPS could go a long way toward fixing that. 

May 19, 2008  12:37 PM

Symantec, Citrix channel chiefs are this week’s podcast guests

Bcournoyer Brendan Cournoyer Profile: Bcournoyer has lined up interviews with two major channel executives for this week’s Partner News Podcast.

Julie Parrish, Symantec’s vice president of global channel sales, will call in to talk about changes to Symantec’s deal registration program and other topics facing Symantec partners.

We’ll also be joined by Al Monserrat, the vice president of worldwide channels and emerging product sales for Citrix. Citrix Synergy 2008, the company’s annual partner and customer conference, is this week in Houston, so there will be no shortage of news to discuss.

The podcast will be available for streaming or download Friday on and the IT Channel Podcasts page at

May 19, 2008  12:11 PM

Juniper sales exec Minshull resigns

Bcournoyer Brendan Cournoyer Profile: Bcournoyer

By Rivka Little, Senior News Writer 

A top operations executive is leaving Juniper Networks — closely following the departure of the company’s COO in January.

Edward Minshull, Juniper’s executive vice president for worldwide field operations, resigned last week, giving five months notice, the San Jose Mercury News reported in a blog. Juniper officials confirmed Minshull’s departure today in an email to, writing:

After more than 7 years of professional and personal contributions and commitments to the growth and success of Juniper, Eddie Minshull has made a personal decision to leave the company.

In his role as executive vice president of Worldwide Field Operations, Eddie has assembled a global team of seasoned sales leaders who continue each and every day to focus relentlessly on the company’s execution and leadership in high-performance networking. Eddie will continue to lead the Company’s Worldwide Field Operations organization through the third quarter, with his formal departure scheduled for September 30, 2008. We have initiated a search for his replacement and Eddie will actively participate in the search for his successor.

In January, former Juniper COO Stephen Elop left the company to go to Microsoft, sending Juniper’s stocks spiraling downward for a short period. Elop is now president of the Microsoft Business Division, where he oversees the Business Solutions Group and the Unified Communications Group.

It is not clear what Minshull’s next move will be.

May 18, 2008  5:04 PM

Microsoft pitches new sort of deal to Yahoo

badarrow Barbara Darrow Profile: badarrow

The Microhoo saga continued Sunday when Microsoft said it was looking into “an alternative” transaction with Yahoo rather than an outright acquisition of the portal and search player.

Microsoft pulled back its offer to buy Yahoo in early May, citing Yahoo’s resistance and working relationship with Google. Since then, financier Carl Icahn has been buying Yahoo shares and proposed a new slate of Yahoo directors in an attempt to get the company back to the bargaining table.

May 18, 2008  1:48 PM

IBM vs. Microsoft battles rage on. Does anyone else care?

badarrow Barbara Darrow Profile: badarrow

Colin Steele’s story this week on IBM taking on Microsoft’s SharePoint dominance with Quickr depicts just the latest skirmish in the continual war between two companies going way back to Microsoft Excel vs. Lotus 1-2-3.

It started when Microsoft challenged Lotus’ 1-2-3 spreadsheet dominance with the aforementioned Excel. Then it went after Lotus’ Notes email-and-collaboration success.

Since then much has changed: IBM bought Lotus for big money, for example, but the rivalry continued.

Microsoft took on Lotus Notes in mail-and-collaboration with Exchange Server. Then it switched strategy, deciding to enlist SharePoint its proxy warrior in collaboration, irritating partners that had been encouraged to write tools for Exchange. Anyone remember XSOs?Or Office Designer? Didn’t think so.

A common parlor game each January before Lotusphere was anticipating what Notes-to-Exchange migration tool would be announce that week.

Now IBM says that Quickr can uproot SharePoint in portals/collab. That’s a big statement given how SharePoint has spread like kudzu — largely because Sharepoint licenses are included in volume license agreements.

Anyway, with this Sharepoint-to-Quickr push, what’s old is new again. But somehow it seems desultory. The big question is whether, in this economy and with stressed IT budgets, anyone outside the vendors and their partner partisans care any more about these melees.

Barbara Darrow can be reached at

May 16, 2008  1:18 PM

EMC to sell VMware? To Intel?

Bcournoyer Brendan Cournoyer Profile: Bcournoyer

EMC stock is rising amid speculation the company will sell off VMware, according to a Bloomberg story hot off the virtual press.

The story quotes one New York equity trader who says rumors about EMC selling its majority stake in VMware have been picking up recently. And another trader tells Bloomberg that observers are expecting some big news out of EMC’s annual meeting next week. chimes in that Intel is the rumored buyer.

EMC announced its plans to acquire VMware, the virtualization market giant, for $635 million late in 2003. VMware still operates independently from EMC and keeps its headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., across the country from EMC’s base in Hopkinton, Mass.

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