Posted

CRN.com | Dec 7, 2010

The Biggest Of The Big

IT vendors continued to keep the channel on its toes in 2010 with surprise moves, hot new technology and new channel strategies (some greeted warmly by partners, others not so much). Here’s a look back at the 10 big stories that kept CRN readers intrigued.

1. HP Gives Hurd The Heave-Ho

The biggest story of the year centered on the biggest IT company in the world, Hewlett-Packard. HP took the channel by surprise on what was turning out to be a lazy summer afternoon when it disclosed on August 6 that chairman, president and CEO Mark Hurd had resigned in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal. Even more surprising was that HP’s internal investigation had actually cleared Hurd (shown) of the harassment claims, yet the company still pushed him out after finding he had violated HP’s code of conduct. Channel partners were by-and-large disappointed by the move since Hurd had made a point of supporting the channel and personally meeting with as many solution providers as he could. Their disappointment turned to puzzlement a few weeks later when HP named a relative unknown — Leo Apotheker, former CEO of SAP — to replace him as president and CEO. And then turned to a bit of jealousy when Hurd landed safely at Oracle.

2. Cisco Supply Chain Breakdown

Networking market leader Cisco Systems kicked off its annual Partner Summit in April with an apology to solution providers for year-long product shortages that resulted in a lot of frustrated customers and partners. A variety of factors contributed to Cisco’s supply chain woes, but the channel didn’t care as much about the ‘why’ as it did the ‘what now?’ Partners blamed Cisco for being too tight-lipped about details that would have helped in project planning with their customers. The lack of information, solution providers said, jeopardized their role as a trusted advisor to their customers, leaving many partners to grapple with frustration and lost sales, and leaving Cisco with some channel fences to mend.

3. Cloud Computing Impossible To Ignore

Vendor after vendor rolled out cloud computing products, strategies and partner programs in 2010, making it nearly impossible for any solution provider to avoid its implications. In one of the most visible cloud grabs, CA made six cloud-focused acquisitions throughout a 14-month stretch for a total spend of $1 billion. Microsoft, Google and Amazon.com also bet big on the cloud. Solution providers were left to wade through the buzz and try to figure out how to adapt their business models to make way for cloud. CRN spotlighted the ‘30 Cloud VARs That Get It’ to shine a spotlight on some in the channel that had figured it all out.

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