Category: News

Google offers piles of won to LG

google-ICGoogle  has offered to invest at least one trillion won ($880.29 million) to help LG Display boost its output of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens for smartphones.

According to the Electronic Times Google offered the investment to secure a stable supply of flexible OLED screens for its next Pixel smartphones.

Samsung Electronics’s flagship Galaxy smartphones use the bendable displays, while Apple is expected to start using them in at least some of its next iPhones. It is thought that this will create a short supply in the industry, which Google wants to head off at the past.

The story has not been confirmed by any of the parties involved. The Pixel does not really sell well enough to cause Samsung or Apple any problems.  It is more of a reference phone designed to attract the interest of other partners, although Google has been slammed for trying to do a lot more with that concept than it should.

Still Google i

Amazon Business might be a new reseller channel

amazonsThe UK launch of Amazon Business might provide some resellers with another way to reach SMEs.

Most people don’t see Amazon as a channel, but the online bookseller’s move to step up its B2B sales might make it more useful.

Amazon Business means that sellers can sell via the etailer to businesses offering VAT pricing and invoicing and special offers and discounts.

The retailer has been running its Amazon Business operation in the US since 2015 and seen a billion dollars of sales to 400,000 customers in its first year. It also enjoyed decent levels of success with the German launch last December.

All this means that the channel could get a different route to reach SME customers that are using Amazon to buy other things and would happily add items like laptops and consumables to their shopping baskets.

Bill Burkland, Head of Amazon Business UK said that whether you are a sole trader, a buyer in a mid-size company or a Chief Procurement Officer in a large multi-national organisation, Amazon Business has the products and capabilities to serve your needs.

“Amazon Business combines more than one hundred million business products with a new set of unique business features – from reporting and analytics to spending limits and purchasing workflow approvals – making it everything you love about Amazon, now for business,” he added.

Amazon is offering free one day delivery on orders of £30 or more and will give customers the chance to use its business analytics tools to track their spending.

Fintech could poach business from bankers

Bank CrisisLarge financial institutions
across the world could lose 24 percent of their revenues to financial technology companies over the next three to five years.

Beancounters at PriceWaterhouseCoopers have added up some numbers and divided by their collective shoe size and decided that the finance industry is about to get a big kicking from FinTech outfits.

Of the more than 1300 financial industry executives polled by the professional services firm, 88 percent said they feared their business was at risk to standalone financial technology companies in areas such as payments, money transfers and personal finance, the study found.

PwC’s annual Global FinTech Report said that consumer services such as personal loans, were seen as most at risk.

The new companies take advantage of new technologies to offer better digital services to customers, in areas ranging from financial advice to life insurance.

To counter the threat, financial institutions expected to increase their collaboration with fintech companies, with 82 percent of respondents saying partnerships with tech-savvy firms would increase over the next three to five years, the PwC report found.

To improve their digital offering and remain competitive, large firms have been looking to work more closely with young technology companies through a number of initiatives such as corporate venture arms and innovation centers.

In his annual shareholder letter published on Tuesday, JPMorgan Chase & Co chief executive Jamie Dimon highlighted some of the bank’s most recent collaborations with fintech companies in areas including mortgages, small business lending and payments.

While collaboration is on the rise, entrepreneurs and executives often note that several hurdles are hindering more effective cooperation. IT security, regulatory uncertainty and differences in management and culture, were cited by respondents to PwC’s report as major challenges hindering partnerships.

While adoption of the nascent technology is not expected to happen quickly, the survey found 55 percent  of respondents planned to adopt it by next year, and 77 percent by 2020.

Intexit McAfee looks to channel for new life

mcafeeHaving escaped Intel’s clutches, security outfit McAfee is looking to its channel to provide it with a way forward.

Intel bought McAfee for $7.7 billion back in 2010 and announced last September that it had agreed to sell its stake to TPG Capital for $4.2 billion. Thoma Bravo has also become an investor through an agreement with TPG and former Intel Security general manager Christopher Young has been named McAfee CEO.

McAfee is sticking with a current partner programme that runs through until 2018 along with its existing product plans.

But the outfit is claiming that the “new” McAfee will be reacting differently to threats and creating more opportunity for its channel partners.

The firm has a well-established and loyal channel and a brand that is already well known by partners and customers.

Young indicated what could lie ahead saying that as a standalone company with a clear purpose, McAfee gains the agility to unite people, technology and organisations against our common adversaries and ensure our technology-driven future is safe.

Amazon sets up business marketplace

amazonOnline book-seller Amazon  has launched its business marketplace in Britain, selling products like office supplies, power tools, cleaning materials and lab equipment targeting an online sector worth $120.44 billion a year.

Amazon started its business marketplace in the United States in April 2015, and managed a billion dollars worth of sales in its first year, before launching in Germany four months ago.

It said Amazon Business would serve enterprises ranging in size from sole traders to multinationals, as well as universities, hospitals and charities.

Amazon Business will sell more than 100m products and is targeted at small, medium, and large firms. It includes features that are tailored for the business community including free one-day delivery on orders over £30, VAT-exclusive pricing and in-depth analytics that allow purchasing managers to track how much they are spending on their account.

The products the service will sell range from laptops to thermal imaging cameras and cleaning products.

Bill Burkland, head of Amazon Business UK, said: “Whether you are a sole trader, a buyer in a mid-size company or a chief procurement officer in a large multinational organisation, Amazon Business has the products and capabilities to serve your needs.

“Amazon Business combines more than 100m business products with a new set of unique business features – from reporting and analytics to spending limits and purchasing workflow approvals.”

Computacenter buys cloud player TeamUltra

lightning-cloudComputacenter has written a cheque for cloud player TeamUltra in a move which will strengthened its relationship with ServiceNow.

TeamUltra was a gold partner for in the ServiceNow ecosystem and now Computacenter has its 60 specialists to play with.

Computacenter has worked with TeamUltra since last year when the two firms delivered a series of projects for financial, utility and pharma customers.

Mike Norris, CEO of Computacenter, said his outfit had  announced its sales and service partnership with ServiceNow six months ago. Now it was making a strategic acquisition to enhance its commitment to the ServiceNow platform.

“The TeamUltra acquisition means that we can link ServiceNow’s cloud-based Service Management platform for ITSM, customer service management, security operations, IT operations management and more, with Computacenter’s award-winning Next Generation Service Desk (NGSD) and Digital Workplace offering, to transform the end user experience,” he added.

TeamUltra will continue to run as an independent operation and will become Computacenter’s ServiceNow delivery arm.

Mike Beale, managing director of TeamUltra, said the acquisition meant the outfit could continue its  “independent and agile” market approach with local decision making support while using its own expertise and complementary solutions portfolios.

Michael Weiss, head of group strategy and marketing at Computacenter said TeamUltra’s specialists and consultants delivering process consultancy, implementation, bespoke training, support services and integrated solutions will help sort out Computacenter’s Digital Workplace, Hybrid Cloud and Managed Security Services.

No word on how much the deal set back Computacenter.


Hammer takes StarWind’s gear

thor-hammer-hdValue-added distributor Hammer has taken on StarWind’s simplified software-defined storage stack, hyperconverged and storage appliances to its portfolio.

The distribution agreement is tailored for the SMB, remote office/branch office (ROBO), and low- to mid-tier of the enterprise market.

Hammer is the exclusive StarWind distributor in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Benelux, Nordics and Italy so the deal is expected to be at least Europe-wide.

StarWind is a full-stack virtualisation infrastructure, providing all the solutions required for a software-defined datacentre for primary and backup purposes.

Optimised for Microsoft Hyper-V, StarWind appliances are also VMware compatible and offer an effective way to enable customers to seamlessly move away from traditional architecture to a hyperconverged system.

SMBs have the advantage of pre-integrated Veeam licences for a clearer asynchronous backup and replication. There is a cloud-out option to give customers the ability to offload ‘cold’ data to the public cloud with ease by utilising service providers such as Amazon S3; and a free-of-charge migration service.

Gerard Marlow, General Manager for OEM & Whitebox Storage at Hammer, said: “This relationship will allow us to provide additional, complementary products to our existing customers, but will also give us the ability to engage with new resellers in the SMB and ROBO hyperconverged space that our portfolio has not enabled us to reach in the past.”

“We are thrilled to be partnering with StarWind, and look forward to a mutually beneficial partnership – one which allows Hammer to make its name as a leader in delivering hyperconvergence to the SMB / ROBO segment of the market.”

Artem Berman, COO and co-founder of StarWind, said: “StarWind and Hammer stood together at the origins of virtualisation and possess necessary resources for anticipating and forming market demand.

Oracle investigating buying Accenture

oracleThe dark satanic rumour mill has manufactured a hell on earth yarn which claims that data base maker Oracle wants to write a cheque for the government outsourcer Accenture.

The database giant has hired a team of consultants to conduct due diligence to “explore the synergies that could be created if they [Oracle] bought Accenture”.

Oracle’s money men and women are weighing up the pros and cons including the potential impact on Oracle’s wider channel.

While this sort of thing happens all the time, Oracle is rather serious about it even if it is a little bit daring. Accenture has a market cap of $77.5 billion, and shareholders will expect a premium offer so it is set to cost a bomb.

It would dwarf some of Oracle’s biggest deals so far which have included a $10 billion buy of PeopleSoft, a $7.4 billion deal for Sun Microsystems, and $9.3 billion for Netsuite.

Still it would give Oracle some rather huge government-based customers to hold by their ankles and shake until the money comes out.

Cisco partners mull over its new network operating system

Cisco Kid Cisco is planning to release a new network operating system that will allow users to run its most sophisticated networking features on older and lower-cost Cisco routers and switches.

What is interesting about the tech is that it could disrupt Cisco’s networking hardware business as it will only run on Cisco switches.

Dubbed Lindt, it will enable Cisco customers to move away from switches based on proprietary high-performance Cisco chips to Cisco hardware that works with lower-cost chips.

The move is seen as part of Cisco becoming less hardware focused and some of its partners think it is rather a good time to do that.

Cisco partners have always had the problem of linking software to the hardware so that they always had to renew the software with the product.

Having the flexibility of owning the software and having more flexibility of changing the platform underneath that makes a more likely sale.

Solution providers said Cisco selling stand-alone software could make Cisco a more valuable company in the long run.

Cisco has been putting networking functions on more platforms, including virtual switches for VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V virtualized and private cloud environments.

It has been also setting up more software-defined networking technology which removes the management layer and switching technology from physical switches to move the networking functionality into the network itself.

Crown Commercial Service slammed

westminstCrown Commercial Service (CCS) has been slammed by a government report as “the latest failure” in the Cabinet Office’s attempts to centralise procurement.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which is a a government Select Committee which monitors the government’s public sector spending, has written a damning review of the CCS’s performance.

The outfit is supposed to be managing around £13 billion of spending, but is in fact only currently responsible for £2.5 billion.

Apparently, CCS’ has been a stuff up since it started in 2014 and had a “poorly” executed launch.

Labour MP Meg Hillier, who chairs the PAC, slammed CCS for its “dismal” performance over the last three years.

“Government really needs to sharpen up if this latest attempt to centralise buying is to function properly… This is a dismal showing that calls into question exactly how willing government departments are to accept the authority of the Cabinet Office in this area,” she said.

“There were clearly fundamental problems at the launch of CCS but even now it is unclear exactly how progress will be made during this Parliament and beyond. Meanwhile the taxpayer is losing out.”

The report found that CCS’ management of procurement frameworks “remains unsatisfactory”, and claimed that its current structure makes it “confusing, blurs accountability and reduces clarity of the purpose” of CCS.

The CCS has failed to renew or replace all frameworks before their final expiry dates and before all extension options were used, and claimed that its frameworks do not always offer competitive pricing.

CCS promised the committee that it had fixed its database issue since the summer and that it had improved its management of frameworks.

“However, when we asked CCS about benchmarking prices, it told us that it did not collect information on the prices on contracts and that how it really knew whether it was competitive was through ‘those call-offs and those contracts which are done underneath the frameworks’,” the report said.

BT fined for being too escargot

Cooked_snailsTop British telco BT has been fined a record £42 million by the regulator, Ofcom,  for failing to install high speed lines for businesses fast enough.

It is likely that BT will have to write out a cheque for £300 million in compensation to customers who suffered from its mega-slowness.

The company was apparently using its terms of its contracts to reduce compensation payments to other providers for failing to deliver Ethernet services on time between January 2013 and December 2014, regulator Ofcom said.

BT’s Chief Executive Gavin Patterson said the company took the matter very seriously, and had put in place measures, controls and people to prevent it happening again.

In other news, Ofcom has revealed new plans which would see consumers who experience poor service automatically compensated, in cash or credit, by their landline or broadband providers.

As part of the scheme, customers who have had to put up with delayed repairs, missed installation or engineer appointments, will be paid up to £30 in compensation, depending on the problem. According to Ofcom, six million landline and broadband customers could receive a total of around £185 million in compensatory payments each year as a result of the policy.

The regulator says every year UK repair technicians failed to show up for 250,000 repair appointments.

Accenture’s outlook below expectations

accenture-surfing-elephantConsulting and outsourcing services outfit Accenture slightly raised its full-year profit forecast, but the revised outlook was still below market expectations.

Accenture has invested heavily in its digital and cloud services, amid stiff competition from Cognizant and Biggish Blue.

Revenue in its consulting unit, which has a higher profit margin than its outsourcing business, increased 2.6 percent in the second quarter its slowest growth in more than a year.

Chief Financial Officer David Rowland told the press that he plans to write $1.5 billion cheques for acquisitions in the year ending August.

Accenture said it expects adjusted profit of $5.70 to $5.87 per share for its year ending August, slightly higher than its prior forecast of $5.64 to $5.87 per share.

However, the company narrowed its full-year revenue forecast growth range to 6 percent to 8 percent in local currency, from its earlier 5-8 percent range.

The new forecast points to revenue of between $34.86 billion to $35.51 billion.

Analysts on average are expecting a profit of $5.87 per share and revenue of $34.60 billion.

Accenture said second-quarter net revenue rose 4.7 percent to $8.32 billion, as it benefited from strong demand for its digital, cloud and security-related services, which made up more than 45 percent of revenue.

Net income attributable to Accenture fell to $838.8 million in the quarter, from $1.33 billion last year.

Profit in the year-ago quarter received help from a $553.6 million gain on the sale of some businesses.

The company’s profit in the second quarter was hurt in part by a higher tax rate and increased operating costs, up 4.3 percent to $7.62 billion.

Analysts on average had expected revenue of $8.34 billion.

More Microsoft partner consolidation happens

microsoft-in-chinaIt seems that Microsoft’s partners are busy buying each other at the moment with dynamics expert SAGlobal snapping up fM4 Systems.

Both are based in the Cardiff area and have worked together on a number of occasions in the past. But last week, SAGlobal snapped up M4 for an undisclosed sum, in a move which will create a £7 million turnover firm with around 500 staff globally.

It is the latest pair of Microsoft partners to merge. New Signature bought Paradigm, and RedPixie snapped up Cloudamour at the start of last year.  The move is widely seen as a part of a general vendor consolidation which arrived about the same time that Vole moved onto a more cloud orientation.

This meant that vendors need to become more focused on their customer base. Taking another company’s contact list therefore makes a lot of sense.  But many resellers are finding that with Microsoft’s cloud services there is less for them to do that Vole is not doing already. Resellers are scrabbling around looking for  complementary services on top to replace the lost revenue streams.

Meanwhile Microsoft only wants resellers who offer something over and above what they offer themselves in their generic product.

The latest acquisition gives SAGlobal and M4 much needed scale and  shows that the Dynamics channel is maturing.


Gemalto suffers from poor US sales

USmilitaryOUTSecurity outfit  Gemalto expects its revenue for first quarter to be lower by seven percent to nine percent at constant exchange rates compared to the same period of 2016. This is mainly due to lower than expected Payment business revenue in the United States.

The Gemalto Payment business revenue for the full year 2017 is estimated to be around €100 million lower than its initial expectation. This update primarily reflects a double digit decline in its assumption for the payment cards total available market in the United States due to EMV card inventory levels at its customers in the first semester. This situation also leads to a lower contribution from personalization services.

Looking ahead, taking into account the first quarter trend, Gemalto now expects its 2017 profit from operations outlook to be at a similar level to 2016. Gemalto is currently reviewing its action plan to minimize the impact.

The company will provide further details when it publishes its first quarter revenue on April 28, 2017.

Microsoft and Adobe getting closer

dc34c48293d48b194affb44168216351Microsoft and Adobe  are joining to make their respective sales and marketing software products better at seeing off Salesforce and Oracle.

The pair said they will work together to create a a shared data format between Adobe’s marketing software suite, which the company is re-naming its Experience Cloud, and Microsoft’s sales software, called Dynamics, allowing the software systems to work together seamlessly.

“It’s going to enable to customers to go beyond the current (software) silos they have to navigate today,” said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of the cloud and enterprise division at Microsoft.

For Adobe the partnership builds on a deal it struck with Microsoft last year to use its Azure cloud computing services.

Adobe has been pushing into business-to-business marketing software since it purchased Omniture Inc, a firm that helps website owners track their traffic, for $1.8 billion in 2009. Software that companies use to run digital marketing and advertising campaigns represented about $1.2 billion of Adobe’s $4.6 billion in revenue last year.

Microsoft has been trying to expand Dynamics, its software system for sales people. Teaming with Adobe helps it compete more strongly against Salesforce and Oracle, which both offer a combination of sales and marketing software.