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5 Channel Partner Updates: 6 January 2017

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Good morning, channel partners. Here are five technology news updates, insights, chatter, and plenty more to start your day for Friday, January 6, 2017. Actually, there are 18 timely entries for VARs, managed services providers (MSPs), cloud services providers (CSPs), independent software vendors (ISVs), telco master agents and telco agents to sip on. Take a look… 18. Gartner Buys CEB: Gartner has acquired CEB, a consulting and advisory firm focused on business decision makers. The move reinforces Gartner's push beyond traditional IT leaders and technology buyers. CEB executives, by the way, are regular contributors to ChannelE2E. 17. M&A -- Unified Communications and Live Chat: net2phone, a provider of cloud-based unified communications services, has acquired LiveNinja, a provider of customer-facing messaging and live chat management services. LiveNinja's technology will be integrated with net2phone's PicuP -- a a cloud-based communication service for small to midsized businesses. PicuP provides SMBs with an automated self-service platform that allows them to answer, route, and manage their inbound calls.
16. Wearable IT and Augmented Reality: Lenovo and Kopin, a wearable technology specialist, have launched a joint venture to commercialize augmented reality (AR) headsets. AR, by the way, has been a major theme at this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
15. Cloud Distribution: D&H Distributing's cloud, IoT and 3D printing businesses grew 77 percent in 2016 vs. 2015. The growth percentages are impressive, but we don't know the actual dollar figures attached to those percentage rates... 14. Goodbye FM Radio?: Norway is getting ready to eliminate FM Radio. In related news, DNA tests confirm that I'm a dinosaur. 13. Telecom Equipment Layoffs: Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE, which is facing U.S. trade sanctions that could severely disrupt its supply chain, is slashing about 3,000 jobs, including a fifth of positions in its struggling handset business in China, Reuters reported. 12. Cloud Delivery Platform: Keep an eye on RackNap, a newly launched unified cloud service delivery platform for CSPs -- including hosters, data centers, telcos, system integrators , hardware an software distributors). Key RackNap leaders include CEO Guruprit Ahuja and COO Sabarinathan Sampath. Their background includes time with Ingram Micro Cloud, Parallels, Odin and Microsoft. We don't know if RackNap somehow leverages the Odin platform from Ingram... or if RackNap's CSP software is homegrown. We're checking. 11. Hot Samsung Profits:  Samsung Electronics says its fourth-quarter profit likely leapt 50 percent from a year earlier to its highest level in more than three years, beating expectations on strong chip sales and a smartphone rebound, Reuters noted. The news is particularly impressive, considering the fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 smartphone likely cost the company about $2.1 billion in profits, the report estimated. But wait. There's more. Visit Page 2 for items 10 to 1 and the exciting conclusion to this blog. Welcome to Page 2 and items 10 to 1. Here's the exciting conclusion you've been waiting for. 10. App Revolution Ain't Over: Apps are so 2012. Or are they? Apple's App Store generated more than $20 billion for developers (and about $8.5 billion for Apple) in 2016, up from $14 billion for developers in 2015 (and $6 billion for Apple) in 2015. 9. Apple HomeKit and Consumer IoT: Roughly a dozen companies are showing off Apple HomeKit devices at this year's Consumer Electronics Show. But as The Verge points out, Apple's HomeKit IoT strategy has failed to generate the buzz of something like Amazon's Alexa... 8. Huawei Smartphone Dials US: Huawei's flagship smartphone, called the  Mate 9, will go on sale today starting at $599.99. The device is unlocked, allowing users to set it up with a SIM from a U.S. carrier that supports the GSM standard, Tech Trader Daily notes. Huawei, based in China, also battles Cisco Systems in the networking and telecom equipment market. 7. Tableau Competition Intensifies: Tableau, the fast-growing provider of big data analytics tools, faces intensifying competition from cloud startups and a fast-evolving competitive landscape, Wunderlich Securities warns. 6. File Sharing Death: Intel denies a rumor that the chip giant has acquired Bitcasa, a file sync and sharing alternative to Box and Dropbox. Bitcasa raised about $20 million before shutting down in 2016. In addition to the mainstream Box and Dropbox options, Channel-centric alternatives include Autotask Workplace, Datto Drive and eFolder Anchor. 5. Crossing the A.I. Chasm: Here's a timely reminder that all the Artificial Intelligence Hype includes dozens -- hundreds? -- of failed companies and projects that never make it out of the lab... 4. Tech Education: Nearly 60 schools across six states are participating in a next-generation education program that allows students to earn a high school degree and two-year college degree. Some students are completing the coursework in as little as 3.5 years, according to IBM, which advocates the program. The irony: IBM had layoffs throughout 2016 even as it focused on mentoring the next-generation workforce... 3. SD-WANs and MSPs: Several MSP-focused software and hardware companies are exploring SD-WAN management technologies. We might be able to share more details in the next week or so... 2. New PSA CEO: FinancialForce, a fast-growing provider of PSA software integrated with Salesforce), has named Tod Nielsen as its new CEO. Nielsen is the former CEO of Heroku and EVP of platform at Salesforce. Jeremy Roche, former CEO of FinancialForce, will serve as founder and special advisor to the management team. Here are deeper details about FinancialForce, Nielsen and the company's overall cloud ERP and PSA efforts. 1. Top 100 MSP Acquisitions: We'll unveil the Top 100 VAR, MSP and CSP acquisitions of 2016 during our January 26 Webcast. We'll also cover key ways to increase your company's valuation. Register now to join us for the discussion. More: Read all of our daily 5 Channel Partner UpdatesPlusSubscribe to our daily enewsletter. Thanks to those who already have.    
Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.