Tag: microsoft

Dell gives up on Android tablets

tabletDell has stopped selling Android devices as it moves to Windows 2-in-1 devices.

It has said that it is giving up on its Venue line of Android tablets, and will no longer offer the Android-based Wyse Cloud Connect, a thumb-size computer that can turn a display into a PC.

Dell has long said that the slate tablet market is over-saturated and declining. They appear to be being replaced by  2-in-1s which provide a more spiritual  blend of PC capabilities with tablet mobility.

Dell won’t be offering OS upgrades to Android-based Venue tablets already being used by customers.

Customers who own Android-based Venue products, Dell will continue to support currently active warranty and service contracts until they expire, but will not be pushing out future OS upgrades.

Dell now mostly has laptops and 2-in-1s with Windows on its books with a smattering of Chromebooks, which run Chrome OS. These can run Android apps through access to the Google Play Store but not Android.

If you don’t want Windows, Dell also sells XPS and Precision laptops with Ubuntu to developers, and thin clients with Linux, Windows Embedded and Wyse’s ThinOS operating systems.

Venue is a brand often placed on the chopping block by Dell.  It killed off Venue smartphones in 2012, but reintroduced the brand through the tablets. You can find Venue tablets with Windows but the product has not been upgraded in a while.

HP is also doing something similar. It now offers just a handful of Android tablets, mainly for businesses. Lenovo is offering fewer Android tablets and has expanded its Windows-based, 2-in-1 lineup.  So much for Steve Job’s “game changing” technology which was going to change the world.

Microsoft opposes Brexit

european-commissionMicrosoft’s UK boss has sent a letter to staff outlining why the firm believes the country is better off remaining in the EU.

This is expected as the IT community generally has backed the campaign to remain in the EU and even put their names to a letter published in a national newspaper.

But Michel Van der Bel, UK CEO of Microsoft did not join the throng, making many wonder if Vole really did hate Europe.  Now he has nailed his colours to the mast and penned a letter to the little Voles who work for him outlining his views and the reasoning behind it to make the case against Brexit.

Van der Bel stated that the vote was very much a question for individuals but, “as a business that is very committed to this country, our view is that the UK should remain in the EU”.

“We have a long history here. It’s where we opened our first international office in 1982 and we have been investing in the UK ever since. We have more that 5,000 highly qualified people working in fields including support, marketing, gaming, communications, cybersecurity and computer science research,” he added.

“Historically, the UK being part of the EU has been one of several important criteria that make it one of the most attractive places in Europe for the range of investments we have made. At key moments in our international growth we have specifically chosen to invest in our capabilities here in the UK,” stated the letter.

Microsoft recently invested in data centres in the UK to service the European market. This will be dicey if the Britain leaves the EU.

 

New Signature buys UK’s Dot Net

uk dot mapMicrosoft solution provider New Signature has just put its John Henry on the purchase of the UK’s Dot Net Solutions.

New Signature provides platform and directory services, systems management and cloud computing. In 2014 and 2105  Microsoft’s  named the outfit its US Partner of the Year. Dot Net gained the same title in the UK in 2014.

In North America, New Signature has been bringing enhancements to application migration to Azure, application development and business transformation. Acquiring Dot Net should help larger customers with multinational operations.

In its statement, New Signature hinted at further acquisitions, although more oriented in Europe but it appears to be a fairly low key merger with no rush to restructure. Apparently the two companies are going to keep separate business structures but partner in best practices – at least for now.  Jeff Tench, New Signature CEO said:

“Dot Net will retain its local UK operating model whilst quickly taking advantage of the immediate benefits that New Signature, the 2014 and 2015 Microsoft US Partner of the Year, can bring. “Our North American and UK teams will partner to share best practices, innovation and expertise to deliver world-class services to our valued customers. We plan to keep the existing UK business structurally separate but unify under one mission and shared vision,” the company said.

Companies reject cloud for fog

Fog.PNGEnterprise CIOs are starting to twig that the cloud is not all it is cracked up to be and are looking at a new buzzword – the Fog –  instead.

One of the problems with the cloud is that many of the services and apps, and data used in critical decision-making are better kept on premise or in smaller enterprise data centres. Cloud goes against the demand for mobility too as the data needs to be kept closer to the machine.

Now Cisco, Dell, Microsoft, Intel and ARM, as well as researchers at Princeton University, are betting that the future of enterprise computing will be a hybrid model where information, applications and services are split between the cloud and the fog. Cisco came up with the name “fog computing” you can probably tell.

Cloud based data centres are huge and are working ok for now. But when, and if the IoT appears on the scene things are going to get messy.

When everything from cars and drones to video cameras and home appliances are transmitting enormous amounts of data from trillions of sensors, network traffic will grow exponentially. Real-time services that require split-second response times or location-awareness for accurate decision-making will need to be deployed closer to the edge to be useful, something which would cause the cloud to break.

The only thing which will save the cloud really is increased technology,  or coming up with a hybrid approach to data. That will enable distributed fog networks in enterprise data centres, around cities, in vehicles, in homes and neighbourhoods, and even on your person via wearable devices and sensors.

If this sounds like the old “distributed computing” over “Centralised computing” debate which happened as the Internet was starting to arrive, it pretty much is. What Cisco is suggesting is incredibly complex networks.

Google targeting Office 365

google-ICGoogle is getting more agressive in its attempts to lure customers to Google Apps from Microsoft Office 365 after its initial programme was successful.

An incentive which allowed midsize businesses locked in contracts with other vendors to use Google Apps at no cost until those contracts expired was started in October and expired on April 14.

But Google has decided to maintain the incentive until the end of 2016, while also making it easier for smaller companies to qualify.

Writing in his bog, Neil Delaney, sales director for Google Apps said that the programme, which also helps fund migrations to Google’s cloud is doing rather well.

More than 20,000 midsize companies took advantage of the offer since October, launching 200,000 new Apps seats they wouldn’t have to pay for until licenses with other software vendors expired.

The original iteration of the programme applied to companies with between 250 and 3,000 employees. Delaney said Google fielded so much interest from smaller customers that it reduced the threshold to 100 employees for the extension period.

The programme aims to induce companies locked into an Enterprise Agreement (EA) to switch to Google Apps.  It gives new customers the opportunity to influence the move to Apps and gives decision makers the final incentive to make the switch.

Google wouldn’t name specific competitors from whom it sees the programme siphoning customers.  But it is pretty obviously talking about the sort of volume license offered by Microsoft for certain products, including Office 365.

 

Comparex sales deal looks dead in the water

charly_poseMicrosoft enterprise licensing house Comparex is having difficulty selling itself off.

The Raiffeisen Banking Group-owned reseller hired investment banker Jefferies to manage a sales process in May and by September last we heard there were two private equity firms left in the running.

An agreement was expected for the end of 2015 but the dark satanic rumour mill claims that the talks collapsed and Comparex was left without a buyer.

The private equity buyers did not see licensing or software asset management strategy as being a good deal any more. Microsoft thinks that everyone will be using consumption-based licences through Azure and Office 365 making an Enterprise Agreement pointless.

Vole has reduced the profits licensing houses can generate from license reselling and recently confirmed that it will gradually kill off EAs in favour of Microsoft Products and Services Agreements and Cloud Solution Partner purchasing models.

Comparex resells software from 70 other vendors including Adobe, CA, IBM, Citrix and VMware but its primary vendor is Vole.

Peruni Holdings, which is a system integrator owned by Raiffeisen Bank, has owned Comparex since 2011.

Microsoft’s Azure cloud growing

Every silver has a cloudy liningMicrosoft’s Azure cloud computing platform is growing like topsie.

Vole announced that it was signing up 120,000 new business customers and developer subscribers monthly.

Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of the company’s Cloud and Enterprise group, said at a developer conference in San Francisco that more than four million developers are also registered to use Microsoft’s developer tools. In January, Microsoft claimed it had 3.8 million developers registered.

Microsoft is focusing on business services and its Azure cloud services platform is a major competitor to Amazon.com’s AWS. Both companies have huge server banks which run services and software for customers looking for added flexibility, lower costs and reliability.

Vole has been getting its foot in the door thanks to parceling up Azure services through its channel and is doing quite well at getting its cloud to rain on Amazon’s parade.

 

Wintel creates new channel incentive programme

wintel_blimp_featureIntel and Microsoft have set up a point-based channel incentive programme to get Intel’s Technology Provider partners to upgrade the 600 million PCs in use today that are five years old or older to the new Skylake-Windows 10 platform.

Dubbed the Accelerate Your Business initiative, North American custom builders selling Windows 10-Skylake systems will be rewarded with the new programme, available through Intel distributors.

Under the deal, custom builders in North America can earn points when they purchase Intel sixth-generation Core i5 or Core i7 components and Windows 10 Pro.

Partners must be active Gold or Platinum Intel Technology Providers. The promotion is valid until June 30.

According to Intel, the initiative will also include training, collateral and resource kits for reseller partners to help showcase the benefits of refreshing PCs.

Intel  is expected to announce the news at its Intel Solutions Summit later this week.  It is is not clear if the programme will be rolled out to its UK partners at the same time.

 

Google expands its cloud offerings worldwide

Google's Eric "Google Glass" SchmidtSearch Engine Google is expanding its data centre operations worldwide, announcing more than 10 new Google Cloud Platform regions to take on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

The first two new regions are set for Oregon in the United States and Tokyo in Japan, and are expected to be up and running by the end of 2016. The rest will follow in 2017.

Varun Sakalkar, Google Cloud’s product manager said that the outfit was opening these new regions to help Cloud Platform customers deploy services and applications nearer to their own customers, for lower latency and greater responsiveness.

“With these new regions, even more applications become candidates to run on Cloud Platform, and get the benefits of Google-level scale and industry leading price/performance,” he said.

The cloud business is getting more cutthroat with AWS, Google, and Microsoft engaged in a bitter price war in recent years, attempting to undercut each other in order to attract customers.

Google has made moves this year to boost its cloud infrastructure strategy and is thinking of buying a number of cloud companies for acquisition, endeavouring to diversify its software and infrastructure offerings to match those of Microsoft Azure and AWS.

Interestingly, AWS has 12 regions globally, the same number Google today announced it was targetting. IBM will soon have 15 major data centres around the world.

Google has just four cloud regions, but with that sphere of influence set to quadruple into new markets across the globe, international customers are about to have a much tougher choice when it comes to choosing a public cloud provider.

 

Microsoft’s cloud partners make a killing

cloud (264 x 264)Beancounters at IDC have been adding up some numbers and reached the conclusion that Microsoft’s cloud  partners are making a killing.

IDC and Microsoft released a report with the catchy title “The Booming Cloud Opportunity” which appears to be the first in a series. Book two will probably take place a few years after book one and feature some of the original characters.

It is based on detailed interviews with 25 partners with solid credentials, like Christopher Hertz of New Signature, Mark Seeley of Intellinet and Geeman Yip of BitTitan.

Basically it says that Microsoft’s cloud Partners have double the growth of those who are less-cloudy. IDC defines cloud partners as companies that get at least half of their revenues from the cloud. Of the 750 Microsoft partners they surveyed, about a fifth of them hit that mark. That top tier of cloud partners reported overall company revenue growth of 24 percent on average, while the rest saw growth of 12 percent.

Next it says that Cloud Partners have 1.5 the gross profit  of the less-cloudy . The figure for the cloud partner group is 41 percent gross profit, while the rest had 27 percent.

Apparently Cloud Partners have 1.8x the recurring revenue of the others. The cloud partners reported that 52 percent of their overall revenues, not just cloud revenues, came from recurring revenue sources. That compares to about 29 percent of revenues coming from recurring sources for the rest of the partners in the survey.

Other findings are that Cloud Partners sell $5.87 of their own offerings for every dollar of Microsoft Cloud Solutions. The rest of the surveyed partners sold $3.71 of their own offerings for every $1 of Microsoft cloud solutions. Importantly on this one, only a little over 400 partners answered.

The IDC report does warn that the surveys don’t always reveal causation.”There’s a lot going on inside all of these partner businesses that could account for the differences other than how much Microsoft cloud services the companies sell.

The report goes against the  popular channel opinion on cloud — that selling cloud services is a recipe for lower margins and lower profitability.

Microsoft solves EU cloud problem

grandpa_simpson_yelling_at_cloudMicrosoft announced a number of new cloud offerings today including one which will solve the company’s European cloud problesm.

The problem is that Microsoft is US company and its country delights in spying on its allies.  The EU fears that the NSA could get a court order and force Microsoft to hand over data from its European clouds and force it not to tell anyone.

Microsoft has come up with a wizard wheeze by creating a product called Azure Deutschland — a German cloud region that will offer Azure services that come not directly from Microsoft, but from the German data trustee Deutsche Telekom.

It not only makes sure that data remains in Germany, but also means that Microsoft can’t actually get to the data itself.  By operating under a German company, the NSA can’t force Vole to do squat.

In fact, while the region offers redundancy and backup, it does so through a private network to ensure that none of the bits being backed up even go through the public Internet where they might stray onto foreign soil.

Germany has some of the strictest data privacy protection laws on the books, and Microsoft said that Deutsche Telekom will have strict protocols regarding when Microsoft is allowed access, even for support:

 

Windows 10 not helping to push PC sales

screen-shot-2015-11-02-at-81934-amThe maker of expensive printer ink, HP’s  Chief Executive Dion Weisler, said that Windows 10 was not helping push PC sales.He said that Windows 10 hasn’t delivered and there is not enough demand for Microsoft’s new OS to help HP survive in a declining PC market.HP delivered the first earnings report since its split. HP reported a 12 percent drop in revenue to $13.9 billion, and a 16 percent drop in continuing operations to $700 million. Virtually every meaningful segment of the business reported declines, including revenue and earnings in both its printer and PC businesses.

He blamed Microsoft which he said that made a  tremendous operating system platform, and universal apps and Continuum computing but failed to stimulate demand.

“We’re carefully monitoring any sort of price development that could further weaken demand,” Weisler said.

HP sold 14.2 million PCs during 2015, but still saw its market share drop by 10 percent—and it ranked second in worldwide PC sales behind Lenovo, according to IDC.  If HP can’t rely on Microsoft to provide the killer app, it might be its own PC future is limited.

EU gives its cloud to BT, IBM, Accenture and Atos

Eu-flag-vector-material2The European Commission has announced BT, IBM, Accenture and Atos will get most of the contracts to supply its new cloud services.

Contracts were broken out into three “lots,” covering a private cloud setup, public cloud setup, and platform-as-a-service, for which it will pay $38.5 million.
The whole lot will be platformed by Telecom Italia which is a bit unfortunate. That outfit is under resourced and its mobile arm TIM just adopted the iChing hexagram for “standing still” as its logo.waiting

It is unusual that Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Amazon and none of the other big cloud outfits managed to get their paws on the EU’s clouds.

The Commission said that all the systems will be physically located within the European Union, the Commission noted, “to be compliant with EU data handling requirements” basically it means that the US will not be able to steal it.

According to the announcement, the contract will “enable the Commission to follow the ceaseless pace of today’s technological race.”

The EU hopes that use of cloud services will help it come up with future improvements to how it works, such as using “Big Data.”

The private cloud service will provide computing and storage facilities through a private network link connected to the EC’s data centres, and will be hosted by a single provider. The public cloud infrastructure will be run over the public internet. And the public platform-as-a-service will include both operating systems and database services run over the cloud.

The first cloud services should appear this year.

IP PBX and unified comms market – here’s Microsoft!

maxresdefaultBeancounters at IDC claim that Microsoft has become a “head-to-head competitor” in the IP PBX and unified comms (UC) space.

Apparently Vole is taking advantage of the fact that traditional players’ have had a slow reaction to changing adoption patterns.

In the first quarter of 2011 and the second quarter of 2015, Microsoft tripled its market share from 4.8 percent to 15.5 percent in EMEA. This made it a “head-to-head competitor “with Alcatel-Lucent, Avaya, Cisco, Aastra and Unify which have been the kings of the space for years.

With more than 15 per cent market share, Microsoft has become the fourth-largest player, IDC said.

IDC’s report said: “This is not a random rise of a vendor/ The companies that had dominated the EMEA IP PBX and UC platform market come from equipment- and on-premise-focused backgrounds. They were too slow to react to the rapidly changing adoption patterns in the market, and Microsoft seized the opportunity.”

Microsoft changes Enterprise Agreement volume licensing deals

Microsoft campusSoftware King of the World Microsoft’s cunning plan to develop ‘one volume licence agreement to rule them’ starts with a new change to its Enterprise Agreement minimums, takes effect July 1, 2016.

The move is to try and simplify Vole’s Byzantine style licensing. According to what Vole is telling resellers, on July 1, 2016 business users who want to go the Enterprise Agreement approach will face a minimum requirement of 500 users or devices, rather than the current 250.

Those who want fewer than 500 devices/users will be steered to the Microsoft Product and Services Agreement (MPSA) and Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) programmes.

The MPSA software/services licence appeared in 2014 and CSP shortly thereafter. Microsoft currently trying to kill off its Select Plus volume license agreement.

Microsoft wants customers to be able to manage their various licensing agreements with the company so that it feels like they only have one.

Vole says that it does not want anyone to have to buy something they don’t need and it wants to have one place where customers could see all their purchases.

Microsoft’s ultimate goal is to get all customers to use MPSA and CSP for their licensing.

Microsoft has seen the composition of its business-customer licensing deals shifting. In fiscal 2015, more than half were for online services only, with no enterprise-wide coverage requirement,

Worldwide Licensing and Pricing. MPSA and CSP are more suited toward addressing these kinds of scenarios, he said.