Category: News

Lenovo takes over Fujitsu’s PC business

lenovo_hqLenovo has acquired a 51 percent stake in Fujitsu’s PC business for more than $157 million.

The deal, first talked about last year, sees Lenovo take control of Fujitsu Client Computing. Fujitsu spun the outfit out of its primary business at the start of last year in preparation for a sale.

A joint venture will be formed between Lenovo, Fujitsu and Development Bank of Japan – which has taken a five percent stake.

The business will continue to operate under the Fujitsu brand.

Lenovo announced the deal simultaneously with its quarterly results.

The PCs and devices business saw a year-on-year revenue increase of seven percent to $8.4 billion.

Lenovo’s datacentre and mobile businesses reported a slight revenue growth so the Fujitsu Client Computing arm is going to a good home which will take it for walks and make sure it gets regular check-ups from the vet.

HP and Lenovo are fighting it out for the title of the world’s largest PC manufacturer, with HP thought to be slightly ahead.

HP talks up the printer industry

history-of-print-16th-century-printing-companyWhile sales of printers are dropping faster than Donald Trump’s popularity, HP has splashed out and written a $1.05 billion cheque for Samsung’s printer business.

The move gives it the strongest A3 printer portfolio on the market along with 1,300 researchers and engineers joinomg HP from Samsung – along with 6,500 printer patents.

HP CEO Dion Weisler said: “As we ignite a renaissance in printing, we’re thrilled to bring together the industry’s best and brightest talent.

“Together we will build on more than 30 years of print leadership to accelerate our strategy, disrupt new market opportunities, and provide our customers and partners with unique and highly innovative print solutions.”

HP thinks that the A3 market is now the biggest opportunity in the printer space, worth an estimated $55 billion.

As part of the acquisition, Samsung will make an equity investment of between $100 million and $300 million in HP through open markets. Figures released last week suggested that the only place in the world were printer sales had not dropped was the UK – where they stayed the same.

 

Altus doubles UK business by buying CVS

TELEMMGLPICT000132861278_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqFQfAtbbiWQ9LTv4s2yIts_GH8TDIoV-pDol7ykUJZu8Altus Group, the commercial real estate services, software and data firm, announced today that it has doubled its business rates practice in the UK by buying Commercial Valuers & Surveyors(CVS) for £36.3 million.

CVS is a privately-owned property tax service provider that specialises in business rates advisory services. The acquisition has a number of key benefits for Altus Group.

For a start it significantly expands the company’s market share in the UK and positions the Group as the country’s leading business rates advisor based on volume of appeals filed.

It also adds strength to the Company’s business rates expertise with the addition of approximately 230 professionals based in London, Manchester and Bristol, bringing the UK practice to over 400 people.

A company spokesman said that Altus is now positioned for further growth in the UK market and it scales and complements Altus Group’s data on comparable property information, giving the Company a greater competitive advantage to better serve clients in business rates appeals and lease negotiations.

Altus Group Chief Executive Officer Robert Courteau said the acquisition of CVS underlines his outfit’s ambition to grow our business in the UK.

“The UK is a market which we believe is extremely important and strategic to our growth. Bringing CVS under the Altus Group brand more than doubles our business rates practice in the UK, while significantly broadening our scale, talent resources and market share in the country”, he said.

“It positions us well to capitalise on the growth opportunity presented by the rates revaluation that took place earlier this year and the new five-year revaluation cycle that commenced with it. The combination of our comprehensive data on joint property information will also better position us to serve our clients in appeals and lease negotiations while supporting our ongoing initiatives to modernize our offerings with data and technology.”

Operating for over 17 years, CVS has gained substantial market share in the UK property market and is widely recognized as the largest provider of business rates advisory services based on the volume of appeals. It specialises in tax representation for all types of commercial properties including office, retail and industrial bulk classes. CVS’s primary services include business rates reduction (reducing property taxes for businesses and other organizations that occupy commercial premises). CVS’s team of approximately 230 professionals will form part of the Company’s UK Property Tax division, strengthening its business rates expertise.

The cost of this acquisition was £36.3 million. Altus Group paid a total of £30.3 million in cash on closing with an additional £6.0 million payable two years after closing, subject to certain conditions being met.

On closing, £25.3 million  was from cash on hand and £5.0 was drawn from the revolving term facility. The acquisition is expected to be financially accretive over the course of the new revaluation cycle.

Cisco finally works something out about channel

Cisco Kid Networking giant Cisco has admitted it really did not have a clue about the channel before and has now changed its mind about its importance.

Chuck Robbins’ told the assorted throngs at his opening keynote at the 2017 Cisco partner summit that things had changed a lot since 1999 when everyone was still interested in direct models.

Cisco management wanted him to work in a group called ‘channels’ and I said, ‘why’? And he replied that ‘we believe that organisation is our future’.

“We are more committed today than we were then. We really didn’t know how committed [to the channel] we should be back then, but today we know for sure. We are committed to our success together [with the channel] as we go forward.”

In the current IT landscape, with millions of businesses moving towards the cloud, the network will end up being fundamentally different than it is today.

“We have to reinvent networking. We have to make it simpler, we have to make it programmable, make it scalable, and we have to make it much more agile for our customers”,  he said.

“This new era in networking is about the ability to take business intent and apply that to the network. Security also has to be embedded deeply into the network because we are adding billions of devices, so have to be applying security in the network too”, added Robbins.

Cisco has been simplifying its partner programme to support its channel’s transition to software-focused sales and services.

It is simplifying its specialisation programme portfolio and adding a Master networking specialisation which will include new software and services skill development. It is improving its industry expertise recognition in areas like retail, healthcare and manufacturing.

There are a battery of new incentives and simplifying deal registration. There is a new Migration Incentive Programme (MIP) to provide partners with an offering to migrate customers with legacy or competitive products to new Cisco technologies. It is simplifying registration by consolidating 15 hunting and teaming programme tracks into two and by streamlining the approval process.

Lastly Cisco has increased its partners in its lifecycle advisor programme and expanding the portfolio of offers available to those partners to more areas of Cisco’s business.

Two new incentives in the Value Incentive Programme (VIP) allow partners to simplify their software-based networking practices while upping their services.

E92plus snaps up Securicom as part of expansion plan

shark_attack_painting-t2 (1)E92plus has written a cheque for security distributor Securicom as part of its cunning plan for European expansion.

Trend Micro and Forcepoint distributor E92plus, wants to to turn over £40 million in its current financial year, but has growth plans which will see it make more acquisitions with the goal of making £100 million in sales by 2020.

Securicom, the first acquisition in the 28 year old distributor’s history, carries emerging vendors including Aqua Security and will act as the emerging technology division of e92plus .

After completing the Securicom takeover, the outfit is rumoured to be hunting further acquisition targets in Europe, with one aim being to take some of the vendors it carries in the UK into the European market.

The first acquisition has been financed by e92plus itself, but Gupta said that agreements are in place with third-parties to fund potentially larger acquisitions, with European equivalents of e92plus likely to be the targets.

The company said that its decision to expand now comes from a need for vendors to work with dedicated security specialists, with larger distributors often not capable of giving newer vendors the time and resources needed to crack the market.

 

HTL Support acquires Serviced Cloud

zclfse07s1zyIT Support outfit, HTL Support, has acquired private cloud company Serviced Cloud.

In a statement HTL  said that its expansion has played a key role in the Serviced Cloud merger. The two companies have worked closely together for many years in what has been described as a natural partnership, providing a bespoke service for large and small business. The merger represents a formalising of the business arrangements and customers probably will not notice.

There has been no disclosure relating to the costs to HTL in taking Serviced Cloud under its umbrella. HTL insists transition will be seamless. Clients of both companies will see no difference in the service they receive.

“We have been working together in many business areas for a number of years and have the same customer ethos. Our customers’ needs are paramount and this merger is testimony to the demand for and growth of our services. This merger will allow existing customers of each company to access additional services and the growth in staffing will allow us to process demand at an even faster rate than is already an established part of the HTL brand.”

The serviced Cloud team will join HTL Support and there is no talk of redundancies.

Printer hardware sales down in EU but not UK

printingpress2Distributor sales of printer hardware are down across Western Europe, but the UK is doing ok, according to a new report.

Beancounters at Context have added up some numbers and worked out that unit sales of inkjet multifunction printers (MFPs) across Western Europe declined by nine percent year-on-year in Q3 2017. This is not limited to MFPs though, with the research saying that overall sales of printer hardware is down.

Context Imaging Analyst Zivile Brazdziunaite said that sales fell in all categories except for laser MFPs: distributor sales of these devices increased by two percent year-on-year in Q3 2017, driven by the colour laser MFPs subcategory..

“In contrast, unit sales of laser single-function printers (SFPs) continued to contract, and were down by 15 per cent year-on-year, as a result of the ongoing switch from single-function to multifunction devices.”

Sales of A4 colour laser MFPs increased by six percent year-on-year in Q3 2017. Almost half of all A4 laser printers sold in Western Europe are now MFPs, and the average selling price (ASP) of both mono and colour devices continues to fall. The ASP of A4 mono laser MFPs decreased by two percent and currently stands at €176, while the ASP of A4 colour laser MFPs is €296 (down by three percent).

Following a decline in previous quarters, sales of A3 colour laser MFPs slightly increased across Western European distribution for the quarter, while ASP in the segment continues to fall – down to €2,188 in Q3 2017, a drop of 20 percent year-on-year. HP expanded its A3 product portfolio earlier this year and registered a strong performance in the region.

The United Kingdom is one of the few stable countries in the region with no movement at all. The worst country is the Netherlands with a decline of 28 percent, while the most prosperous for printers is Lithuania at 25 percent.

Sales changes by Country:

Germany-3%

The United Kingdom 0 %

Italy-8%

Spain-10%

France-23%

Netherlands-28%

Switzerland-1%

Austria-13%

Portugal-9%

Sweden-8%

Belgium-22%

Finland2%

Denmark-8%

Lithuania25%

Ireland23%

Norway1%

Latvia-5%

Estonia-12%

Baltics12%

Poland -14.7%

Brocade is now Extreme

Extreme_(_Extreme_album_-_cover_art)Extreme Networks has completed its takeover of Brocade’s networking business which it claims will take it over the $1 billion revenue threshold.

For those who came in late, the acquisition was first announced in March, came after Broadcom acquired Brocade but wanted to off-load its networking business. Extreme Networks meanwhile wrote a cheque for Zebra’s LAN business and Avaya’s networking bits.

Extreme Networks CEO Ed Meyercord said: “This is an exciting day for Extreme as we have now significantly strengthened our position in the expanding high-end datacentre market with the industry leading solution for enterprise customers. Through a series of synergistic acquisitions, Extreme is now a top player in the enterprise networking industry and expects to generate over $1bn in annual revenues.”

He added that the announcement was not only a significant milestone for our growth strategy, but it also allows Extreme to assist more customers around the globe with end-to-end software-driven solutions to drive their digital transformation initiatives.

Extreme Networks’ share price has risen over 130 percent since the start of the year, giving it a market cap of $1.3 billion.

 

HE framework has education pounds to spend

classroom-19th-century-1140x684A higher education buying consortium wants suppliers to deliver £50 million worth of networking equipment and services to UK higher education institutions.

The HE Networking – Supply and Services Framework, developed by North Eastern Universities Purchasing Consortium, wants wired and wireless networking equipment tobe acquired through the framework.

The framework will be divided into four Lots: Networking Equipment, worth £22.5 million, £16.5 million worth of Small to Medium Networking Projects, £10.5 millon worth of large networking products, and £500,000 for Networking Consultancy.

No more than 14 suppliers are expected to be invited to bid for a place on each Lot, with no more than nine awarded a spot on each. No suppliers on Lots 1, 2 and 3 will be eligible for the fourth consultancy Lot, to avoid conflicts of interest.

The framework will run for an initial two-year period, with the option of two further 12 month extensions. Contracts are expected to be awarded in February 2018.

Half of companies to outsource security

funny-security-guardNearly half of companies plan to outsource their security opening the way for managed security service providers (MSSPs) according to research from service management software provider SolarWinds .

SolarWinds is a managed service provider (MSP) so the results are not entirely unexpected, but the results come from a survey with 401 UK and US enterprises in a report called ‘The Path to MSSP’.

From its findings, 60 percent of respondents are currently managing all or part of their security internally but of those, 82 percent are likely to outsource in the next year.

Out of those likely to outsource, 42 percent  cited cost and 40 percent performance as the main drivers for this decision. Those who are likely to outsource also make up 49 percent of all the respondents and the report highlights how MSSPs can take advantage of this opportunity.

The difference between MSSPs and managed service providers (MSPs) is that the former meet various criteria in four categories: infrastructure, risk and vulnerability management, data security and identity and access management. The majority of businesses in the report preferred a security specialist to an MSP, with 70 percent agreeing that it would give them ‘more trust in their security capabilities’.

Tim Brown, vice president of security architecture at SolarWinds MSP, said that daily reports of security issues were forcing businesses to examine their protection measures.

“This creates nervousness amongst enterprises and SMEs and greater scrutiny of the IT security measures in place. Where there is market turbulence, there is also opportunity, and the good news for IT service providers is that this has resulted in almost half of all businesses planning to outsource their security needs to specialists”, he said.

“However, IT service providers need to remember that more opportunity inherently means more competition. Providers need to be able to prove their knowledge, capabilities, and available resources to take full advantage.”

 

Smaller companies suffering from a bad case of Brexits

sick-man-in-bedInsolvency trade body R3 has warned that post referendum inflation and weaker pound have hurt businesses’ bottom lines.

R3 says as data shows prolonged fall in corporate insolvencies seen between 2010 and 2016 appears to now be in reverse.

According to Q3 stats from the Insolvency Service, underlying corporate insolvencies rose 15 per cent between Q2 and Q3, and are also 15 percent higher than this time last year.

Although corporate insolvency data has bounced around in recent quarters, the Q3 stats – which cover England and Wales – are in line with an underlying rise in bankruptcies since the middle of 2016.

R3 said businesses are coming under more strain from rising costs, partly due to factors relating to last June’s referendum.

In a statement, R3 president Adrian Hyde warned that businesses have faced a number of fresh challenges over the last year. Increasing input costs caused by post-referendum inflation increases and a weaker pound, a rising national living wage, the added costs of pensions auto-enrolment, and, for some businesses, rising business rates will have hurt bottom lines.

“Some of these added costs will have been passed on to customers, but reliance on consumer confidence isn’t necessarily a recipe for long-term financial health. Consumers’ ability to absorb price rises is limited, and with spending fuelled by consumer debt, potentially unsustainable. An interest rate rise is just around the corner, too. Although it may be a small one, it may be too big for those businesses and their customers already on the edge.”

Hyde added that R3’s own statistics show the number of businesses with signs of growth have fallen from recent record highs, while the number of businesses with signs of distress are increasing from recent record lows.

Airbitz doing Cashaa’s blockchain security

redstoneblock1Cashaa, the blockchain-based banking platform, has partnered with Airbitz to provide the security for its global financial services.

Cashaa, which aims to provide access to financial services for the billions of unbanked, uses blockchain technology to enable value transfer, without the end user having to come into contact with cryptocurrency themselves. Airbitz integration means, Cashaa has strengthened its service by adding secure, encrypted storage for its network of traders that work behind the scenes.

The partnership will allow the platform to scale out and offer the fastest services on the market to the widest possible audience.

CEO and founder of Cashaa, Kumar Gaurav, said: “Airbitz is one of the most secure and trusted cryptocurrency wallets, which is in line with the ethics and vision of Cashaa, in providing platinum grade service for the people around the world.”

Cashaa is one of the top 100 most influential block chain companies after its service launched earlier this year, it reckons. The platform already beta tested the transfer of fiat money for a flat fee of 1$, disrupting existing business models and signalling a new era of financial freedom.

Cashaa’s platform will be powered by the Cashaa (CAS) token. CAS holders can access premium services, instant loans, obtain a credit score, create smart contracts for trading and participate in the governance mechanism of CAS tokens. 1 billion CAS tokens will be generated with 51 percent (510,000,000) available to the public. The CAS TGE opens on 6 November until 5 December and the pre-sale is running now offering between 60 percent to  100 percent bonus tokens.

Computacenter gets an eight percent boost

whirlwind-computerComputacenter saw its UK bottom line tighten up in Q3 with revenue up eight percent year on year to £33 5million.

Overall the group saw revenue jump 27 percent to £931 million with Germany once again the standout performer.

Revenue in the German business was up 26 percent to £453 million, while France’s sales pogoed 34 percent to £127 million.

Of the UK business, Computacenter said: “Whilst the UK is growing slightly slower than the group , the results in the third quarter clearly demonstrate an improved performance.”

Computacenter announced that the momentum it experienced across the group, particularly in Germany, in the first half of the year has been maintained if not improved during the third quarter of 2017.

“Whilst the fourth quarter is our most difficult comparison to 2016 of any quarter in the year, we remain on track for a record performance. New technologies, digitalisation and our customers’ appetite to invest is as buoyant as we can remember, which is obviously driving our professional services and supply chain services.”

The company warned that its target market’s desire to reduce operating costs, and therefore the cost of running their IT, has intensified which is eroding its contractual services base, thus increasing the need to invest in productivity and innovation to remain competitive. Whatever that means.

Autotask’s owners buy a bit of dis and Datto

DIS-DAT-40Acres-Spackback-Cap_11Vista Equity Partners, the parent company of IT management solutions vendor Autotask, is about to buy Datto.

It is not clear how much it is paying for the outfit but it is expected to complete later this quarter. The deal will cross Datto’s backup and disaster recovery solutions with Autotask’s IT management portfolio.

Both claim it will create ‘significant opportunities’ for the channel, creating a single provider able to meet the needs of MSPs and IT service providers from operations through service delivery – including professional services automation (PSA), backup and disaster recovery, networking continuity, file sync and share, and remote monitoring and management (RMM).

The merged outfit will have 1,300 employees with offices in nine countries, servicing over 500,000 SMBs through their network of partners in 125 countries.

Brian Sheth, co-founder and president of Vista Equity Partners, said: “We’re thrilled to bring together the complementary skills and world-class service of two global market leaders, Autotask and Datto. Over the past three years, we have worked closely with the Autotask team to accelerate growth and expand its Unified Platform. Bringing Autotask together with Datto’s impressive talent and deep expertise in backup and networking solutions will take us to the next level and deliver extraordinary tools and services to MSPs worldwide.”

Mark Cattini, CEO of Autotask, added: “With the powerful combination of the Autotask Unified PSA-RMM platform and Datto’s industry leading business continuity solutions, together we can now deliver unprecedented innovation and unmatched levels of value and service to our customers and partners worldwide.

“This merger marks a natural step in our evolution as we continue to bring more managed service offerings to the channel. We look forward to using our combined scale to do even more to help our customers grow, succeed and increase profitability. We are excited to get going.”

Datto founder and CEO Austin McChord, said: “”This unique combination of talent with a track record of success marks a new chapter that will make an even bigger impact for our Managed Service Provider partners, by delivering an unprecedented set of capabilities for them to serve millions of small businesses in the future.”

They all had something to say, then. Datto founder Austin McChord as CEO and Autotask’s Cattini will acting as a strategic advisor to the board of directors.

 

AGMA calls for closer monitoring of service and warranty fraud

Greyarticle-1202547-0001C74700000258-888_468x329 market outfit The Alliance for Grey Market and Counterfeit Abatement (AGMA) has warned vendors that they must monitor partners closely for service and warranty fraud

AGMA is a non-profit organisation aiming to stamp out grey market activity. It  claims that the two issues “continue to run rampant” in the technology industry, diminishing vendor revenues by as much as five percent.

The body claims that service abuse can lead to an increase in grey market activity, as well as a decline in customer confidence and company reputation.

AGMA defines services abuse as the use of services and support without proper entitlement or authorisation, while warranty abuse involves a partner providing service on a product that is no longer covered by warranty.

In a statement, it has called on vendors to take a tougher stance on their resellers by implementing watertight contracts and carrying out audits on partners.

“Channel partners play an integral role in the business of tech manufacturing; they are relied upon to help market and deliver products and services to end users. The delegation of these essential activities to a third party necessitates the use of a contract.

“[Vendors] have a right to audit channel partners as they see fit, and they should be exercising it.”

AGMA’s membership comprises industry heavyweights including Microsoft, HPE, HP Inc, Cisco, IBM and Dell EMC – as well as auditing firms including Deloitte, KPMG and PwC.

The body recommends that partners are audited every two years, either at random or by targeting those suspected of malpractice.

AGMA president Sally Nguyen said: “While no contract is ironclad, by covering all your bases in a clear manner, your channel partner contracts will be an instrumental tool in efficiently managing your network of partners.”