Tag: microsoft

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.

 

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.

 

Microsoft carries out partner review

Stefan_Lochner_-_Last_Judgement_-_circa_1435Software King of the World, Microsoft, is auditing its partners and sorting out the sheep from the goatees.

Request for proposals (RFPs) were sent out to existing and new distributors last Friday covering much of the software Microsoft puts through distribution especially its full packaged products (FPP), OEM Windows, OEM server and electronic software delivery (ESD) products.

At the moment, Vole uses Tech Data, Ingram, Westcoast, Exertis and Entatech but now it is thought that Microsoft wants its distributors to reflect its recent move into hardware and changes to its business model.

VIP and Ci Distribution have received an invite to bid which could suggest a widening of the distribution channel, or that some big names might be culled.

Ingram and Tech Data recently lost out in a similar review Microsoft completed for its hardware accessories business, which includes mice and keyboards. In that case there were seven distributors were invited to bid for this franchise but only Exertis and Westcoast were successful.

Microsoft tells partners to pass on Surface price hikes

Microsoft campusSoftware king of the world, Microsoft, has told its channel chums to pass on the price increases of its surface gear.

The move is expected to cause a few headaches as resellers will be the ones left explaining why prices have risen.

The reason is the value of the pound and the Brexit tax. There have been some price rises already with the large hardware vendors passed on the currency fluctuations but now everyone is having to do it. This is mostly because the only thing that is selling for 90 euro cents a pound turns out to be the pound.

Vole has said that it is increasing hardware prices on the Surface and the Surface Book by 15 percent, as a direct consequence of the state of Sterling.

The vendor has given the channel some leeway on exactly how much it will pass on those increase, but really a 15 percent increase is about the only way it can happen.

A spokes Vole said that the price increases only affect products and services purchased by individuals, or organisations without volume licensing contracts and will be effective from February 15, 2017.

“For indirect sales where our products and services are sold through partners, final prices will continue to be determined by them,” it  added.

Microsoft is doing its best to encourage the channel to sell more of its Surface line. Schemes like a try-before-you-buy and increased services have all launched in the last few months to tempt more users.

Other vendors that have looked at prices include HP and Apple and earlier this week the speaker manufacturer Sonos revealed that it was also increasing the costs for customers because of exchange rates.

Still at least the UK can be re-assured that as soon as the UK gets out of the EU more than $380 million a week will be spent on the National Health Service.

Microsoft looks to channel to sort out its small blue things

hqdefaultSoftware King of the World Microsoft is ending pay-as-you-go Azure access for new smaller customers on the Microsoft Products and Services Agreement, as it turns to channel partners to win small customers.

At the moment punters are purchasing Azure on a pay-as-you-go basis through the MPSA.  Vole’s new customers seeking the payment plan will be “guided” towards Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) programme.

According to Richard Smith, Microsoft’s general manager for commercial licensing the new licensing focus was a matter of “enhancing and creating synergies” across the ways in which it goes to business.

It means that customers seeking to dip their toes into Azure on a PAYG basis will now need to go through the Channel.

Vole will not make much extra cash from selling through the channel, but Volish thinking is that small suppliers are more likely to stay signed up to a Channel programme than sticking to something more direct.

Many smaller customers don’t see the true benefits of the Azure cloud because they lack the skills.

By encouraging customers to work with partners via the CSP programme, it will mean that there is a  greater chance of success and ultimately a greater consumption of services from the Cloud.

Microsoft buys Maluuba in AI push

robotsSoftware King of the World Microsoft is working out new ways to push AI enhanced products on the great unwashed.

Over the weekend, it announced that it was buying the startup Maluuba which will help Vole develop products based on natural language deep learning, especially question answering and decision making.

Harry Shum, executive vice president for Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence and Research Group, wrote in his bog that Maluuba’s expertise in deep learning and reinforcement learning for question-answering and decision-making systems will help it advance our strategy to democratize AI and to make it accessible and valuable to everyone — consumers, businesses and developers.

Vole did not disclose the terms and conditions of the acquisition, or the price. As part of the acquisition, Microsoft will also bring Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms head Yoshua Bengio on board as an advisor. Bengio was previously an advisor to Maluuba.

Maluuba was founded in 2011, has raised $11 million in equity funding. The company focuses on improving computer systems’ reading comprehension, memory and common sense reasoning abilities.

In September, Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft also formed the Artificial Intelligence and Research organisation, which the company said would double down on its AI product efforts through research.

Virtual smart home assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home have been gaining traction over the past year and will continue to do so. But the key for its partners is that Microsoft can also pave the way for other high-end artificial intelligence applications, including in the medical field.

Microsoft’s partner boss promoted

maxresdefault (4)Microsoft’s UK partner boss Clare Barclay has been promoted to the role of UK chief operating officer.

According to a company email Barclay announced that she is “transitioning” into the role of UK COO and would report to UK CEO Cindy Rose. The reporting is unchanged she already does that in her current job of small and mid-market Solutions and Partners general manager.

Chris Perkins taking on interim leadership of the SMS&P business from 1 February until they can find a successor. He has led Microsoft’s corporate accounts business for the last four years and is a “great supporter” of selling with partners, Barclay said.

She added that she will continue to fly the flag for partners in her new role.

“I have always been and continue to be a passionate advocate for our partner community and will continue to stay connected in my new capacity. During my tenure, I’ve been supported by an incredibly strong leadership team, who remain in place to help you grow your business alongside Microsoft and you should not see any changes day to day as a result of this announcement.”

Vole announced plans to rejig its partner business last week, merging SMS&P and its Enterprise Product Group. However there were not supposed to be any management reshuffles as a result of the move.

Barclay said that it was an incredible time in the industry and one that is full of opportunity but also change.

“New year is often a time to reflect and it has been incredible to see the impact we have had together with our partners over the last couple of years, as we have helped our customers transform their businesses and have seen rapid adoption of cloud services during this time. I have had the pleasure of leading the SMS&P and partner business over this period and I wanted to thank you for the impact you have had,” he said.

Oracle is still the “big bad wolf” of software audits

dore_ridinghoodThe Campaign for Clear Licensing (CCL) has lashed out at the “anti-competitive” tactics of software vendors and said that Oracle is the “big bad wolf” of software auditors.

CCL found licensing audits were taking an average of nearly 200 work-hours to resolve and Oracle was the worst offender.”

The research asked respondents to estimate how long an average software audit takes to resolve in work hours and total duration. The average estimate was 194.15 working hours over a duration of 7.13 months.

CCL feels that big vendors are using audits to block competition and restrict innovation. While customers are locked in a room talking with the big vendors about audits, they are not looking at alternatives.

The 194 hour figure has gone up over the last five years because software licensing, and therefore the audit process, has become more complex, CCL said.

Oracle was named and shamed by nearly a quarter as the least helpful vendor in terms of audits. IBM and Microfocus were second and third, ahead of Microsoft, Autodesk, SAP, Adobe, Dell Software and HP.

Although Microsoft was seen in CCL’s survey as the most helpful vendor in terms of audits it did catch a bit of criticism. CCL did not like how previous compliance misdemeanours might be overlooked as long as the customer adopts the software publisher’s strategic products.

“…While less aggressive, this approach is still anti-competitive and it assumes the vendor’s cloud solution is the most viable option.”

Microsoft demos Dynamics 365

Microsoft campusMicrosoft has been hyping its Dynamics 365 platform for months and now is finally showing it off to its channel partners.

For those who came in late, Dynamics 365  is an integrated CRM and ERP. Vole talks up the software’s machine learning skills, business intelligence and advanced data integration features.

Vole announced that Dynamics 365 will be released next month, giving customers a cloud-based customer relationship and business management solution that delivers predictive insights by using artificial intelligence.

Microsoft thinks the software will create opportunities for partners to drive business transformations.

Dynamics 365 is fully integrated with Office 365 and the Cortana Intelligence Suite, and works with Microsoft’s productivity tools, email and business intelligence solutions.

The product, accessible through a mobile app, leverages machine learning algorithms to help sales, service, and marketing agents gain insights into their professional relationships.

CRM rival Salesforce has a similar product which it calls Einstein, an artificial intelligence technology infused into its sales, service and marketing apps.

 

 

Window 10 loses market share

windows-10-technical-preview-turquoiseSoftware King of the World Microsoft might actually be losing market share on its Windows 10 operating system.

Recently, Vole bragged that Windows 10 was running on 400 million devices, but the operating system’s market share lost ground  in September in a move that could worry Microsoft’s partners.

StatCounter Global Stats has Windows 10 at 24.42 percent desktop OS market share for September, down just .01 percent from its August share. Netmarketshare said Windows 10 dropped from August’s 22.99 percent to a September reading of 22.53 percent.

StatCounter has recently recorded a surge in “Unknown” desktop operating systems, up from 4.06 per cent in June to 6.42 percent in September.

Windows 7 remains in top position in all three of the data sources. StatCounter clocked it at 34.9 percent and Netmarketshare gave it 48.27 percent market share, up 1.02 points over August.

XP’s has fallen to 9.11 percent on Netmarketshare and 5.44 percent StatCounter.

Windows 8.1 is between six and eight percent market share and Vista is nowhere to be found.

It would indicate that while Windows 10 has done well in the consumer market, it has not been widely adopted by business yet. This would make it a harder sell for sellers in the business channel. That’s an awful lot of percents.

France surrenders to Microsoft Azure Blitzkrieg

surrenderMicrosoft is pushing hard to get its Azure cloud offerings accepted in Europe and has announced that it will build its first Azure data centre in France this year.

Vole has written a $3 billion cheque to build its cloud services in Europe. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told the assorted throngs in Dublin that the expansion would mean that Microsoft covers “more regions than any other cloud provider. In the last year the capacity has more than doubled.”

The French data centre comes a month after Amazon announced that it would also be building a data centre in France.

Nadella said today that Microsoft has data centres covering 30 regions across the globe, “more regions than any other cloud provider,” with the European footprint including Ireland, the Netherlands, the UK and Germany.

In Germany, its data centre is operated by its glorious Deutsche Telekom allies in a trustee model, a move made both for “digital sovereignty and compliance,” Nadella said, “and a real world understanding of what the customer needs.”

“We have a very particular point of view by what we mean by mobile first and cloud first,” Nadella said today “It’s about the mobility of your experience across all devices in your life [and] the way to achieve that mobility … those experiences… is only possible because of the cloud.”

Vole claims that it is the “more trusted, more responsible and more inclusive” cloud provider, in contrast to Amazon and Google.

Salesforce wants watchdogs to split up Microsoft and LinkedIn

dog-on-bed-with-people-no-text-590x388Salesforce has called on EU regulators to investigate antitrust issues related to Microsoft’s $26 billion bid for social network LinkedIn.

Vole is expected to seek EU antitrust approval in the coming weeks for its largest ever deal and Salesforce, which missed out on the sale is complaining.

It has asked competition authorities to go beyond a simple review, saying the deal threatens innovation and competition.

Burke Norton, Salesforce’s chief legal officer, said in a statement said that by gaining ownership of LinkedIn’s unique dataset of over 450 million professionals in more than 200 countries, Microsoft will be able to deny competitors access to that data, and in doing so obtain an unfair competitive advantage.

“Salesforce believes this raises significant antitrust and data privacy issues that need to be fully scrutinized by competition and data privacy authorities in the United States and in the European Union,” he said.

Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer, said in a statement: “Salesforce may not be aware, but the deal has already been cleared to close in the United States, Canada, and Brazil. We’re committed to continuing to work to bring price competition to a CRM market in which Salesforce is the dominant participant charging customers higher prices today.”

The European Commission’s preliminary review of merger deals lasts 25 working days, which can be extended by about four months if it has serious concerns.

HPE unveils new channel scheme

HPE The former maker of expensive printer ink, HPE has taken the covers off its new channel programme.

The outfit’s new Flexible Capacity model for Microsoft Azure allows partners to bridge private and public cloud with a single pay-as-you-go unified billing consumption model.

HPE unveiled the Flexible Capacity option as part of the launch of a new HPE Microsoft Azure Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) stack for HPE’s DL380 hyperconverged system.

The HPE Microsoft Azure stack should be ready to go in mid-2017 and HPE Consulting for Azure Hybrid Cloud services are available now.

The stack provides customers with Flexible Capacity single pay-as-you-go bill for both on-premise HPE private cloud and Microsoft Azure public cloud.

HPE said the DL380 Azure stack, which will sit in the customer’s data center, can be deployed with HPE SecureData software – protecting data in both public and private clouds and HPE Operations Bridge analytics software.

Google close to Paypal cloud coup

PAY-Lion-King-cloud-MAINGoogle is pushing into cloud computing and could be about to score PayPal as a key client.

PayPal is evaluating the other leading providers and hasn’t made any final decisions, but what is worrying for Microsoft and Amazon is that it has put Google into the running.

PayPal has some existing business with AWS, namely its Braintree and Venmo products, which the company acquired in 2013. In moving infrastructure to the cloud, big companies often start with test and development workloads before touching critical customer information, and that’s likely where PayPal will begin.

But cloud services would open up new technical capabilities that are difficult inside their existing infrastructure. If there are big shopping days, Paypal could obtain some servers on the fly.

There is a lot at stake, Google wants to prove that it’s a legitimate player in the rapidly expanding cloud infrastructure market and to do that it has to kick the leaders Amazon Web Services and Microsoft firmly in the nadgers.

Google has also been allocating cash to its cloud technology as well as the sales, marketing and support needed to meet enterprise standards.

But it looks like this particular battle will be settled by cost. AWS has dropped the price of a storage product by 47 percent, the 52nd time Amazon has slashed prices.

Google may use its cash mountain to start a pricing war which is an area where Amazon would not be keen to go.  Microsoft might be able to use its own cash reserves to take on the rival.

But technically Google needs to match or beat AWS in terms of speed and reliability while also winning on price against a company that’s grown up thriving on razor-thin e-commerce margins. It has a long way to go before it can give AWS a run for its money. AWS generated sales of $2.9 billion in the second quarter, almost six times the amount Google makes in an entire year, based on RBC’s estimates.

However, there are signs that things are getting better. At the beginning of the month the Synergy Research Group claimed that Google’s cloud revenue surged 162 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier. The company still only commands 5 percent of the market, but it is growing fast.

It has also poached some good clients including Snapchat, Spotify, Home Depot and Walt Disney. Getting PayPal would represent another feather in its cap.

Ingram Micro goes very very quiet

ingram-mico-hqIngram Micro UK & Ireland has signed up to be the newest distributor for Quiet’s power supplies, PC cases and cooling solutions.

Ingram said the addition of Quiet’s products to its portfolio will allow resellers to offer customers a wider range of peripherals, while developing their own new and innovative product ranges promote growth.

Taj Pandya, head of commercial management at Ingram Micro, UK and Ireland said:“We are extremely excited to be able to deliver new technologies and opportunities to our channel partners and we are thrilled that be quiet! has trusted us with the distribution of their premium products that embrace an exceptional level of precision and quality.”

“We hope the inclusion of this new vendor will appeal to our customer base and will permit Ingram’s further expansion into new categories.”

Ingram Micro was one of the first to sign up for Microsoft’s Surface as a Service programme, which will allow new services and hardware to its customers based around Redmond’s Surface Tablet.