MicroScope's top stories: December 2013

AMD predicts PC resurgence, Microsoft launches cloud partner network, and HP unveils 2014 hardware ranges. Catch up on the biggest channel news stories from December 2013

AMD reports resurgence in system builder market

The system builder market is re-emerging after years of taking a hammering as customers turn to local players to help them build and install PCs quicker than rivals shipping them from overseas can manage.

The growth in the local system builder market has been noted by AMD, which has seen numbers swell in those channel players that are able to customise an order and deliver it fairly quickly to customers.

Andrew Buxton,  EMEA channel director at AMD, said that the system builder market traditionally had been fairly strong but had then imploded with high-profile failures such as Evesham and Mesh and for a while things had gone quiet, but that was now changing.

"Local system builders are holding up really well because they are very responsive and are growing with build to order," he added "A lot of these guys [who were in the market a few years ago] are coming back and it is encouraging."

He said that AMD was determined to engage with more of the system builders and the reseller base that was targeting local small businesses in the year ahead and believed it had a decent proposition that provided partners with high performance products and good margins.

Unify signs up Westcon’s Dean Douglas

Enterprise comms JV Unify – formerly Siemens Enterprise Communications – has revealed Dean Douglas is to join the company next year as its new CEO.

Douglas resurfaced just a day after the industry learned he was stepping down from his previous role at Westcon, to be replaced by former Dell man Dolph Westerbos.

However it comes after a lengthy search for a new CEO at Unify, according to chairman Mark Stone, who said the firm had now found an “ideal successor and leader”.

“[Dean] brings deep understanding of the enterprise technology industry and intensive experience of successful sales channel and partnership development in a variety of international roles, which will be essential as we continue the transformation of Unify into the most capable supplier in the industry.

Lexmark pushes channel to embrace print services and solutions

Lexmark has been setting out its plans for the New Year, revealing it plans to chat up buyers in schools across the country in the run-up to BETT 2014 at ExCel London, and said that it will see a change in the mix of partners it deals with as it pushes its printer services and solutions message.

Lexmark embarked on a major education campaign in the channel earlier in 2013 and made a big noise around the concept of basic print services, whereby it provides more of the back-end hosting and support for partners that have not yet made the transition to true managed print services provider status, promising upfront margins on a two to three year contract.

Speaking to MicroScope, Lexmark UK and Ireland channel and SMB sales director Martin Fairman said that this transition and the education process around it would continue into 2014.

EC lets Dimension Data acquisition bid slip

Managed services player Dimension Data has tabled an undisclosed sum for the entire equity capital of NextiraOne’s IT services business in a number of European countries.

The existence of the deal, currently under scrutiny in Brussels, was revealed by the European Commission in a small announcement at the end of November.

HP takes wraps off 2014 hardware range

Hewlett-Packard has used an event in Barcelona to indicate that it believes there is still plenty of life in the desktop if it is delivered in a way that fits in with what the vendor is dubbing 'the new style of IT'.

The demands that users have now include making products well designed, thinner and smaller, as well as providing a common set of interfaces to make security and maintenance easier to carry out.

Databarracks urges more cloud contract clarity

There continues to be a need for transparency in cloud contracts if channel suppliers and customers are going to make the migration to the cloud without running into complications and arguments over what is delivered.

Responding to the ongoing need for greater transparency in the market, and as a reaction to recent moves made by the European Commission to establish and expert team to establish cloud contract terms, Peter Groucutt, managing director of Databarracks has urged channel providers to improve the clarity they offer customers.

K3 Hosting seals first strategic channel partnership

Just weeks after launching, K3 Hosting has signed its first channel partnership with Unified Wireless Solutions as it looks to build up its partner network to increase market penetration.

Unified Wireless Solutions, which has a strong reputation in the retail market and will add secure hosting to its services options, becomes the first partner for K3 Hosting since its launch in autumn 2013 and lays down a marker for the strategy going forward.

Microsoft launches channel Cloud OS network

Microsoft has launched a global partner consortium, called the Cloud OS Network, to drive adoption of its cloud services in the market and challenge its rivals.

Services available through the consortium include Windows Server with Hyper-V, System Center and the Windows Azure Pack.

Backup Technologies offers lifeline to Symantec Backup Exec.cloud channel

Backup and disaster recovery services provider Backup Technologies (BTL) – which was acquired by cloud firm iomart earlier this year – has come to the aid of Symantec partners and customers affected by the closure of its Backup Exec.cloud service.

Symantec binned the service at the end of November 2013, admitting that Backup Exec.cloud had not been designed to handle features such as synch and share, or mobile access, which the SME customers to whom the service was offered were increasingly demanding.

Cisco: cloud to power channel in 2014

Cisco UK channel management has been reflecting on what the organisation has accomplished in 2013, and looking ahead to a year that is expected to be stronger still.

With optimism in some quarters that the UK economy may finally be on the road to recovery, Cisco reported that its partner led business has been a strong player in the back end of the calendar year, significantly outperforming the rest of the business in its fiscal Q1.

Tech Data and Fujitsu aim to drive workstation sales

Distributor Tech Data UK has extended its partnership with Fujitsu by making the vendor’s CELSIUS workstations available to value-added resellers and systems integrators.

Westcon makes Westerbos boss

Networking, security and unified comms distie Westcon has selected former Dell exec Dolph Westerbos to take on the role of CEO following the departure of Dean Douglas, who is stepping down in January after five years in charge.

Toshiba pounces on fallen OCZ, eyes SSD market dominance

High-performance solid state drive (SSD) vendor OCZ, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week, has been bought by Toshiba for the knockdown price of $35m (£21.3m).

Security market consolidation expected in 2014

The security market could be set for further consolidation next year as the pressures to keep up with the latest cyber threats impacts the vendor community and drives some to rethink their options.

Microsoft moves to make volume licensing simpler

Microsoft has reacted to the often cited criticism that its volume licensing structure is too complicated with significant changes to its approach that will see a myriad of different options consolidated into a single offering.

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