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Dell Shuffles Channel Organization

The executive most closely associated with Dell's current channel approach is moving on.

Greg Davis was the public face of Dell's partner program, helping to launch Dell PartnerDirect in December 2007, to sell the program to a skeptical channel and to advocate for it for the ensuing six years. 

With Dell now officially a private company, Davis on Monday sent out an e-mail to partners that he is shifting to a new role as vice president for Software and Peripherals at Dell. Filling in for Davis is Cheryl Cook, who becomes vice president of Global Channels and Alliances for Dell.

Cook is an internal hire with external channel experience. Until this week, she was vice president of Enterprise Solutions at Dell, but she previously spent time at Sun Microsystems as senior vice president of Americas Sales, a role that included responsibility for Sun's channel.

The role Cook will fill is slightly different from Davis'.

In the e-mail to partners, Davis explained one way the scope of Cook's job will be narrowed. "Our regional channel leaders will continue in their present roles, but will now report to regional Dell sales leadership. This means they will be able to integrate more closely with our sales and product teams, which will allow for faster feedback between partners and business unit leaders," Davis wrote.

Specifically, that means channel executives Frank Vitagliano and Jim DeFoe will report to North America sales leadership; Laurent Binetti, to Europe/Middle East/Africa; and Richard Lee, to Asia/Pacific/Japan.

In another way, Cook's portfolio will be broader. "This team will have responsibility for defining and delivering innovative programs, training and certification and global marketing programs for our partners to grow, differentiate, and flourish with Dell. Her organization will ensure a consistent and coordinated approach to our Channel, Alliances, strategic ISV, and OEM partners," Davis wrote.

Dell spokesperson Laura Thomas said that Davis had not had responsibility for alliance partners and strategic ISVs.

Davis sought to assure partners that Dell's focus on the channel of the last few years would continue. "Our channel strategy and the global nature of our PartnerDirect program will stay the same. We will continue to focus on: winning in the data center, investing in training, being easy to do business with, and being your long-term partner. And PartnerDirect will continue to enable the sale of end-to-end and point solutions through one simple, consistent program," Davis wrote.

Davis leaves behind a much more robust partner program than the unofficial program he started with. When Michael Dell unveiled his intentions to turn his direct-sales empire into more of a channel company in mid-2007, Dell already had about 30,000 partners.

Through nearly six years of constant effort, Dell has built its channel into about 143,000 partners worldwide, and the company says that more than a third of global commercial revenue flows through the channel now.

Posted by Scott Bekker on November 19, 2013 at 10:42 AM0 comments

SkyKick Automates Public Folder Migrations to Office 365

Migration project automation startup SkyKick on Tuesday released an update of the SkyKick Automation Suite to bring support for Microsoft Exchange Public Folder migrations into Office 365 and deliver a more robust dashboard for partners.

Earlier this year, Microsoft expanded Office 365 to support migration of Exchange Public Folders into its cloud productivity suite. 

Although SkyKick launched its migration automation tool slightly after Microsoft added Public Folder support, SkyKick's initial version went through a two-year beta testing process and focused on the core elements of an Office 365 migration that a partner needed -- from selling, to planning, to provisioning, to migrating, to managing, to setting up users. In all, one early-adopter partner told RCP in April that the Seattle-based startup's solution cut the Office 365 migration process from about 40 hours of work and interaction with the customer down to two or three hours spread over a week or two.

With the initial version out for half a year and used by hundreds of partners and thousands of customers, SkyKick was ready to start adding some new features, said Todd Schwartz, co-CEO of SkyKick. Public Folders were an obvious Office 365 pain point for partners.

"It's so messy and tedious, a lot of MSPs wouldn't even offer public folder migrations to their customers," Schwartz said. "An MSP would have to go in manually, go through hundreds of folders, and, per public folder, it could take as much as four hours. We've now automated public folder migration within the SkyKick Application Suite."

The automation works much like the initial suite's automated discovery of e-mail addresses. Using SkyKick, a partner selling the migration to a customer only needs that employee's e-mail and password to begin the process of discovering all the e-mail addresses on the server and to kick off the migration process. The e-mail/password combo does not need to be an administrator credential.

The latest version of the suite now does the same with Public Folders. "If they're on an Exchange Server, we will discover their Public Folders," Schwartz said

Arterian, a managed services provider in the Seattle area, has been using SkyKick for six months and helped test the Public Folder migration automation, said Jamison West, CEO and founder of the Seattle-based MSP.

West confirmed that Public Folder migrations have been a burden, and that about half of customers Arterian has migrated from on-premises Exchange to Office 365 need to bring Public Folders with them.

"There was really no way to see what the permissions were. We'd go manually to public properties, pull up the permissions and export the public folders. It was just a purely manual, look at what the settings are, export and do the settings again. It was very labor-intensive," West said.

With the new capability, Public Folder migrations "go as smoothly as the end user migrations," said West, adding that the availability of the tool was critical in a recent migration project that involved a lot of important Public Folders. "We would have lost it, or had to charge more. It saved a significant project for us."

The other major enhancement in SkyKick's update is the Project Management Application (PMA), which is part of a redesigned partner portal. The PMA gives partners real-time alerts about the status of migrations, automates some previously manual tasks and allows partners to manage parts of the migration project.

One critical new feature of the PMA is the ability for partners to modify a migration order, such as adding, removing or changing forwarding settings on mailboxes, once the migration has been scheduled but as late as four hours before the migration start time, SkyKick executives said.

Posted by Scott Bekker on November 19, 2013 at 10:41 AM0 comments

Spinning Steve Ballmer's Departure from Microsoft

Steve Ballmer granted a series of interviews to The Wall Street Journal that resulted in an article over the weekend on how he decided to retire.

Ballmer's story, corroborated for the WSJ's Monica Langley by Microsoft board member John Thompson, is that he came to a realization on a London street in May that Microsoft might undergo its necessary transformations without him and all the old-guard Microsoft baggage he carries. 

It's an interesting and very readable story. It's also corporate board-level spin orchestrated by one of the cagiest and savviest companies in the world. Count me as highly skeptical that it approaches the truth of what happened.

That aside, I read this piece as Microsoft trying to communicate two things to the world.

One message is that nothing was forced upon Microsoft's board by outside investors, and that Ballmer's ouster, the executive shocker of the summer, was just a logical outcome of orderly processes at mature company.

The other message is that nobody should expect Microsoft to abandon the "devices and services" strategy that Ballmer put in place over the last few years. (See my column, "34 Billion Reasons Microsoft's Next CEO Will Stay the Course," from last week for more on this theme.)

Here's the key portion on devices and services from the WSJ's account:

Mr. Ballmer and his board have been in agreement: Microsoft, while maintaining its strong software business, must shake up its management structure and refocus on mobile devices and online services if it is to find future profit growth and reduce its dependence on the fading PC market.

The board's beef was speed. The directors "didn't push Steve to step down," says Mr. Thompson, a longtime technology executive who heads the board's CEO-search committee, "but we were pushing him damn hard to go faster."

Not only is devices and services what the board of directors wants for Microsoft's future, it's something they will want faster from the next CEO.


Posted by Scott Bekker on November 18, 2013 at 12:02 PM0 comments

Look for New Channel Approach from Symantec

The channel will play a more central role for Symantec Corp. under a program rolling out next year.

Symantec telegraphed some of the changes on Wednesday at its Symantec Partner Engage event in Scottsdale, Ariz. 

In a pre-briefing, Garrett Jones, a Symantec veteran who became vice president for global channel operations this spring, said the changes stemmed from Symantec 4.0, the new strategy under CEO Steve Bennett, who is the company's fourth CEO (thus 4.0). The strategy developed out of Bennett's review of the company after taking over as CEO in 2012. 

Symantec is the sum of a lot of acquisitions with hundreds of products in dozens of areas. Previous channel efforts pushed partners to represent as many of the company's products as possible.

"Before to climb tiers, you would have sell very broadly across our portfolio," Jones said. "We had 20 programs, even more than 20. Now we've consolidated those down to one overarching framework."

Symantec is also recognizing that partners don't want to operate in multiple Symantec programs; they want to operate in one Symantec program. Moreover, if they're successful as security partners, for example, Symantec doesn't want its incentives to force them to go into adjacent areas, such as backup, to access program benefits like higher margins.

"Our [old] programs were designed more as a one-size-fits-all. It wasn't designed so that partners can go deep in one area and be successful and be rewarded for it. Before, [it was] sell everything in a peanut-butter approach," Jones said.

Symantec isn't ready to go public with specifics of the new channel program yet. Jones said the company has taken its roughly 150-point solutions and is moving toward a roadmap for partners with 10 integrated offerings.

"What we're hoping to do is really clarify the Symantec portfolio," Jones said. While details will be available later, examples of integrated offering areas would include things like user productivity, information security, information management and data-loss prevention, he said.

Meanwhile, Symantec is already tinkering with its indirect-direct sales mix and started implementing some changes in July. Among the changes, Symantec is:

  • reducing the number of named accounts that Symantec sells to directly,
  • expanding the number of accounts in the 100-percent-channel-led commercial space,
  • investing in the inside sales organization to better support the channel,
  • clarifying the rules of engagement for Symantec's sales teams and
  • adjusting compensation internally to incentivize Symantec sellers to engage with partners.

Jones said Bennett's review found that Symantec's best bet is to rely more on channel partners.

"We [have] clear evidence that our sales and marketing costs were out of line with where we wanted to be and we weren't really getting return on investment," Jones said. "We need to effectively embrace channel and give them opportunity. We need to let them lead."

Posted by Scott Bekker on November 13, 2013 at 12:35 PM0 comments

Mergers and Acquisitions Drive Customers to Office 365

One partner's view from the trenches is that mergers and acquisitions are a powerful driver for midmarket customers to move to the Microsoft cloud.

Matt Scherocman is president of Interlink Cloud Advisors Inc. in Cincinnati. A longtime Microsoft channel player, Scherocman and some business partners spun up an Office 365-focused consultancy a couple of years ago. He blogs occasionally, and this week provided some interesting insights about M&A. 

Scherocman called M&A "the #1 driver of the cloud."

Some of the reasons his clients cite include capacity limitations in both environments preventing either party from consolidating all users, the ability to quickly create collaboration through SharePoint or Lync, the opportunity to break or renegotiate existing contracts, and covering IT costs in the integration budget.

See Scherocman's blog for a lot more detail.

Posted by Scott Bekker on November 04, 2013 at 5:33 AM0 comments

Cloud Companies Unite on NSA Transparency in Letter to Congress

Big U.S. tech companies are setting their rivalries aside to unite against a common problem -- the ongoing damage revelations about the U.S. National Security Agency are doing to their reputation for keeping customers' cloud data private and secure.

On Thursday, AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo co-signed a letter to the sponsors of the USA Freedom Act calling for greater government transparency about legal demands for the companies' customer and user information and greater accountability for government surveillance. 

Dozens of lawmakers sponsored the USA Freedom Act, which was written by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-VT, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and original Patriot Act author Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-WI. The bill, with 16 Senate co-sponsors and more than 70 House of Representatives co-sponsors, was introduced on Tuesday.

The legislation is aimed at limiting the phone record collection program and other government surveillance programs unveiled by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden over the last five months.

The tech companies, which were all signatories of an open letter to the Obama administration in July, as well, wrote to "applaud the sponsors of the USA Freedom Act for making an important contribution."

They urged the sponsors to ensure the legislation include several key provisions.

"Allowing companies to be transparent about the number and nature of requests will help the public better understand the facts about the governments' authority to compel technology companies to disclose user data and how technology companies respond to the targeted legal demands we receive," the letter stated.

While the letter called transparency a critical first step, it went on: "Our companies believe that government surveillance practices should also be reformed to include substantial enhancements to privacy protections and appropriate oversight and accountability mechanisms for those programs."

The Leahy-Sensenbrenner bill is expected to encounter heavy resistance from the White House and from members of the House and Senate Intelligence committees.

A copy of the letter posted by IDG News Service is available on Scribd.


Posted by Scott Bekker on November 04, 2013 at 5:33 AM0 comments

The Windows XP Exodus Hits a Slowdown

It was starting to look like the world was getting serious about migrating away from Windows XP in time for the operating system's April 8, 2014 support deadline.

The end-of-life date for Windows XP has been a major focus for Microsoft, with annual reminders to partners at the Worldwide Partner Conference for each of the last three years and tools like countdown clock gadgets.  

It's especially significant because users who don't migrate will be vulnerable to zero-day exploits and other security holes that Microsoft no longer ever plans to patch for XP. Their systems will be vulnerable, endangering their own data and networks, and their computers will also serve as launching pads from which attackers can mount attacks against the rest of the Web.

Hitting on that theme Oct. 29 at the RSA Conference in Amsterdam, Microsoft claimed that Windows XP systems are already six times more likely to be successfully hacked than Windows 7 or Windows 8 machines. Once support ends, attackers will wait for Microsoft's Patch Tuesday bulletins and treat them like a shopping list of new ways to attack Windows XP, according to one security expert.

Windows XP, which Microsoft sold between October 2001 and January 2009, still commanded 50 percent of PC usage share 10 years after its launch in 2011, according to NetMarketShare monthly statistics from Net Applications.

Windows 7 finally surpassed Windows XP in usage in August 2012, when both operating systems hovered around 42 percent of overall PC usage, as measured by Net Applications, which relies on thousands of partners worldwide running its software to capture platform information about systems visiting their sites.

From there, Windows XP kept its grip, losing less than a point of share per month, and in some months even gaining a little share, all the way through July of this year.

But in August and September, Windows XP shed share very quickly by Net Applications' measure. XP clunked from 37.19 percent in July down to 33.66 percent in August, then down to 31.42 percent in September.

After dropping precipitously in August and September, Windows XP's share of the worldwide usage market stabilized in October. (Data source: NetMarketShare by Net Applications.)

In the updated figures for all of October posted by Net Applications Nov. 1, however, the momentum stalled. Windows XP's share now stands at 31.24 percent of all desktop operating systems in use worldwide -- virtually unchanged from the month before.

With 159 days until extended support ends for Windows XP, we'll see if this is a pause or the outlines of the hard kernel of users who won't be upgrading at all.

Posted by Scott Bekker on November 01, 2013 at 11:49 AM0 comments

StorageCraft Ramps Up Internationally

In advance of its 10th anniversary as a company in December, StorageCraft Technology Corp. is bolstering its international presence.

Draper, Utah-based StorageCraft is opening a new international headquarters in Cork, Ireland. The disaster recovery, system migration and data protection vendor that is a mainstay in the managed services provider market is currently hiring for IT support, marketing and human resources positions for the Cork office. 

Mike Kunz, vice president of sales, noted in a statement that StorageCraft has had a presence in Europe since 2006.

"With the establishment of the international headquarters in Ireland and the addition of key personnel, StorageCraft will provide an increased level of marketing, technical and sales support to its global network of resellers and master distributors in order to continue its high rate of growth throughout the world," Kunz said.

The company has been busy the last few weeks. Oct. 24 marked the release of StorageCraft ShadowProtect IT Edition PRO, which combined the IT Edition -- for hot server backups, migrations to new hardware and migrations from physical systems to virtual platforms -- with ShadowProtect Granular Recovery for Exchange. A week before that, StorageCraft and Advanced Backup Solutions unveiled a partnership that includes ShadowProtect software in ABS' backup and disaster recovery appliances and in its offsite disaster recovery infrastructure.

Posted by Scott Bekker on November 01, 2013 at 12:09 PM0 comments

Is Microsoft's Nokia Strategy Working?

Now that Microsoft is buying Nokia's phone business, the Finnish company's financial results are less important to the Microsoft ecosystem. Nokia was Microsoft's most strategic partner in CEO Steve Ballmer's long game to become a player in smartphones. One major reason to pay attention to Nokia's financials was to determine if the company would survive its former CEO Stephen Elop's plan to transition to the Windows Phone platform.

The other major reason to pay attention was to see how many Lumias, the flagship brand for Windows Phone, Nokia had sold in the preceding three months. With Nokia Lumia devices accounting for 80 percent or more of Windows Phone shipments in recent quarters, Lumia sales were a good indicator of the Windows Phone platform's overall health. 

Until Microsoft integrates the Nokia devices business into its own company sometime in the first calendar quarter of 2014, the Nokia financial results will continue to be the key place to find out how Windows Phone is doing. In fact, given Microsoft's usual practices, that integration could be the end of regular reporting of Lumia unit sales. For example, Microsoft declined to tell the market last week how many Surface units were sold in its most recently completed quarter. We'll probably have to rely on IDC or Gartner estimates of Windows Phone unit sales rather than quarterly company reports from Microsoft.

Let's take a look at the data, though, while we still have it. Nokia's financial results on Tuesday were very promising for Microsoft's phone platform. Nokia reported that it had sold 8.8 million Lumia units in the July-September period. That's nearly a 19 percent improvement sequentially over the previous quarter and about triple the number of devices Nokia sold in the year-ago quarter.

Figure 1.

A look at Nokia's Lumia sales since the company first started shipping the Windows Phone-based devices in the fourth quarter of 2011 shows a nearly steady march upward in units, with the exception of a dip in the third quarter of 2012 (Figure 1). It's a pretty chart, the kind executives like to show to investors.

Another chart illustrates why Nokia was eager to jettison the devices business. Elop, the former Microsoft executive who is returning to Microsoft with the sale of Nokia assets, originally projected that Nokia would sell 150 million additional Symbian smartphones as it managed the transition of its customers to Windows Phone and Lumia. Symbian had been the powerhouse of the smartphone industry in the pre-iPhone era. The 150 million Symbian projection proved hopelessly optimistic. In reality, Nokia managed to sell about 41 million more Symbian devices in the Lumia era, which stretched from the fourth quarter of 2011 until the company effectively stopped offering Symbian devices in the first quarter of 2013 (Figure 2).

Figure 2.

Another chart illustrates what a gigantic hole that rapid dropoff in Symbian sales left in Nokia's business. At a time when the overall smartphone market was vaulting to ever higher shipment totals quarter after quarter, Nokia was watching its absolute number of smartphone unit shipments drop. See the third quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013 for the worst parts (Figure 3).

Figure 3.

But the blue part -- Microsoft -- of the blue and orange bars kept accounting for more and more of the sales quarter-by-quarter, and that is the only part of the business that has ever mattered to Redmond.

Where it gets interesting is that with this quarter's results, Nokia's Lumia sales are starting to become a significant number in the market. Sure, the IDC smartphone estimates also released on Tuesday show a market dominated by Samsung at 81 million units, followed by Apple at a distant second with 33 million units.

The next tier, though, is Huawei, Lenovo and LG. All three are in the 12 million unit range. Nokia is coming up on that group fast. Another quarter of 20 percent growth would put Lumia at about 10.5 million units -- and fourth quarters are traditionally strong so Windows Phone's performance could conceivably be even better than that.

None of this is to say that the ball of Windows Phone progress couldn't get fumbled in the Nokia-to-Microsoft handoff. The trajectory, though, suggests that Microsoft will just keep on coming and has a credible chance of becoming not just the third-place smartphone platform but the third-place global smartphone maker, as well, in the next few quarters.


Posted by Scott Bekker on October 30, 2013 at 2:39 PM0 comments

Partner Takeaways from Microsoft's Q1 Earnings

Microsoft's earnings report last week brought a sharp bounce in the stock price. Here are five notes for the Microsoft channel from Microsoft's earnings release, press release, investor call and 10Q statement:

  1. Surprisingly strong overall performance. After last quarter's poor performance, this quarterly earnings statement was a loud cry from Microsoft that rumors of its demise are greatly exaggerated. The company beat analysts' expectations with revenues of $18.53 billion, net income of $5.24 billion and earnings per share of $0.62. The results even caught Microsoft off guard. "Total revenue was up 7%, to $18.6 billion, and came in about $700 million better than our expectations," said Chris Suh, general manager of investor relations, on the investor call.

    Meanwhile, the new reporting structure that divides Microsoft up into different reporting units seems, for now, less opaque than it at first appeared. Several financial analysts on the investor call thanked Microsoft for providing more detail.

  2. The "Devices" in the Devices and Services strategy are hurting margins. No surprise here, but selling computers like the Surface rather than just the software for computers cuts into your profit margins. We got detail on this in the 10Q. Devices and Consumer hardware cost of revenue increased by 101 percent, dropping the gross margins for the sector by 54 percent. This increase in cost of revenue was "primarily due to $645 million higher Surface cost of revenue." (This segment also includes Xbox.) The cost came both from higher volumes of Surface sales during the quarter, along with inventory buildups of the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 devices, which launched after the quarter ended.

    Across the company, cost of revenue increased 23 percent, and Microsoft's 10Q again said the increase was "primarily due to Surface product costs." There's a reason investors have been lukewarm about Microsoft's shift toward devices.

  3. As a product, Surface is doing better. In the previous quarter, there was little but bad news about Surface. Microsoft announced a $900 million charge related to excess inventory of the Surface RT devices. This time, CFO Amy Hood said, "We more than doubled the number of units sold over the prior quarter. In terms of mix, Surface RT did better than expected."

    Altogether, units and revenues were both up. "D&C Hardware revenue increased $401 million or 37%, due primarily to Surface revenue of $400 million," Microsoft's 10Q stated. While the channel went unmentioned and Microsoft referred vaguely to improved execution, the quarter does coincide with the extension of Surface sales to authorized distributors, rather than just through Microsoft's physical and online stores.

  4. Client Windows remains a disaster, business Windows is stabilizing. The numbers from IDC and Gartner for the comparable period have been stark -- a freefall for the PC market. Microsoft's results reflect that on the consumer side, but the company's core Windows client franchise did OK on the business side. Here's Suh summarizing the situation:

    "Our Windows OEM business performed better than expected, declining 7% versus our expectation of a mid-teens decline. ... We believe we are seeing a stabilization in business PCs, which grew again this quarter and drove Pro revenue growth of 6%. We also saw better-than-expected performance in the consumer part of our business. Non-Pro revenue declined 22%, but was several points better than expected."

  5. The state of servers is strong. For the bulk of Microsoft's solution provider partners whose bread-and-butter business is built atop Microsoft servers, those products continue to perform. Tidbits from the investor call involving servers included:

    • Server product revenue grew 12% overall.
    • SQL Server revenue grew in double digits; SQL Server Premium revenue increased over 30%.
    • SharePoint and Exchange saw double-digit growth.
    • Lync revenues increased nearly 30%.

Posted by Scott Bekker on October 28, 2013 at 12:35 PM0 comments

Globalization in Tech: The Windows 8.1 Edition

Time was, a Microsoft operating system update would be the major IT event of that month, and every computer- and peripheral-maker would drop everything to be sure to have drivers and software ready for go-day.

So it speaks to Microsoft's loss of market power, at least on the client side, that much of the industry seems to yawn when Microsoft does something as major as update its flagship OS, in this case from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1. 

I encountered a separate wrinkle that points up our increasingly, geographically multi-polar world. The United States is no longer the undisputed king of tech. This has been obvious for a while, but I'm about to share my first actual experience of it.

It used to be that when Microsoft would ship something, the rest of the industry would be ready with English-first drivers, and they'd be carefully checking Microsoft's multi-language roadmap to align their non-English software and drivers with Microsoft's schedules.

Not so with Windows 8.1. I'd been using a Lenovo Ideapad Yoga 13 with the Windows 8.1 preview for months, so I thought nothing of upgrading when Windows 8.1 became available in the Windows Store last week.

Much to my chagrin, once the upgrade was complete, the audio stopped working and I had trouble staying connected to my wireless network, among other problems.

An online hunt for new Windows 8.1 drivers led me to a Lenovo support forum, where I learned from a forum participant that the Beijing-based Lenovo did have a Chinese driver available already, but didn't have an English one yet. (This was last week -- new drivers are available now.)

Comfortable with the Lenovo domain in the URL, the pointer from an official support forum and the rudimentary Google Chrome translation of the Chinese-language support page, I went for it. It was a slightly white-knuckle affair when the pop-up windows of the installation wizard presented me with mostly question marks where text ought to go, but it worked well enough. A reboot later, and audio and consistent wireless access were back.

Spare me the lectures about not doing my homework before upgrading and the potential security problems I could have opened myself up to by downloading in another language. I know I'm guilty of ranging far afield of safe-computing best practices. (Although I will say that Microsoft's loss of mindshare has also led to much, much less non-official documentation of non-obvious potential pitfalls. That's a subject for another day.)

This was my first experience of seeing non-English drivers available for Windows before English drivers. What's your take? Is this symptomatic of an inevitable erosion of influence by U.S. tech companies? Or am I reading too much into an isolated incident? Leave a comment below or e-mail me at sbekker@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Scott Bekker on October 24, 2013 at 1:17 PM0 comments

Kaseya Buys 365 Command

Kaseya fully embraced Microsoft Office 365 on Thursday.

The Lausanne, Switzerland-based systems management and MSP tools vendor bought the technology of the high-profile Office 365 tool 365 Command for an undisclosed amount. The 365 Command technology was owned by Champion Solutions Group, based in Boca Raton, Fla., a company that is a Microsoft National Systems Integrator and an early cloud adopter. 

Much of the 365 Command technology came from Champion Solutions Group's acquisition of Charlotte, N.C.-based MessageOps in November 2012, and MessageOps founder Chad Mosman continued to help drive feature development of the product through 2013.

It was not immediately clear if any employees were part of the deal, which fell on the same day as Microsoft's quarterly earnings report, in which Microsoft boasted of continuing momentum for the Office 365 cloud productivity suite.

The 365 Command toolset consists of migration tools for moving on-premise Exchange mailboxes to Office 365, as well as tools for managing users, devices and permissions, among other functions. Several 365 Command capabilities are geared for MSPs, including the ability to manage multiple Office 365 clients through a single log-on.

"Office 365 is exploding in popularity. With this growth, mid-market organizations and MSPs are scrambling for a better and more efficient way to manage these applications," said Yogesh Gupta, president and CEO of Kaseya, in a statement. "This acquisition gives Kaseya yet another powerful tool in its arsenal to help our customers dramatically simplify management of their IT environments, and to make managing today's modern infrastructure and applications seamless for organizations."

Posted by Scott Bekker on October 24, 2013 at 2:17 PM0 comments