Microsoft has laughed in the face of the old adage "there's no such thing as a free lunch" this week. And while the vendor hasn't been handing out sarnies and hot drinks to its army of resellers, it has offered it a variety of giveaways around its Small Business competency.
The software giant offered its VARs 3,000 exam vouchers towards achieving the competency, as well as extending the time that the whole accreditation can be achieved at a discounted price.
And while Microsoft's heart might have been in the right place, some resellers suggested the giveaways merely indicate that the new competency hasn't been as popular as it had hoped, a claim which Microsoft denied. Oh well, can't blame a vendor for trying...
Channel folk love a gadget, and none more so this week than HP VARs, who were bursting with excitement after getting their hands on the vendor's new tablet.
HP's ElitePad 900 was made available through the channel last week, and resellers said they expect the device to be a winner.Like all the best gadgets, some VARs predict a slow initial uptake as people get their heads around it.
But if yo-yos, back scratchers and eyelash curlers could make the big time, we don't think the ElitePad has much to be concerned about.
Eastern Europe is home to some of the continent's finest tourist offerings: Prague's famous Charles Bridge, Krakow's Main Square and Croatia's beautiful beaches.
But Systemax's decision to open a pan-European services centre in Hungary's capital city Budapest suggests it is not just camera-wielding, map-toting mini-breakers who want a piece of the eastern European action.
Two hundred staff are expected to be based at the new hub by the end of 2013, and the long-time UK general manager of Misco, Sandy Price, has been charged with running the new facility, which is expected to open in the next few months.
The Yorkshire brotherhood
A spat flared up between fellow Yorkshire resellers SICL and Concorde last week over similar wording used on the duo's websites to market their respective cloud offerings.
Concorde admitted that the literature used to punt its FLEXCloud product contained similarities to that used for SICL Cloud, but it claims the offending copy only appeared on its website in error following a botched training exercise.
The hostilities may date back to last year, when Concorde poached a couple of its nearby rival's sales staff. Although we don't like to engage in stereotypes about northerners here at CRN, how about a good old whippet race to settle it?
Though consolidation is part and parcel of the channel's evolution, the more sentimental among us will have been reaching for the Kleenex last week
as the historic Magirus brand name was finally retired by new owner Avnet.
Not even on emails will customers now be able to glimpse any reference to the firm, which was one of Europe's last remaining VADs before Avnet snapped it up last summer.
Hopefully eponymous founder Christian Magirus, who is now a vice president at Avnet, won't suffer an identity crisis as a result of the rebranding.
Most bankruptcies in the channel are accompanied by harsh words from former employees and rivals. But in the case of 2e2, all thoughts turned immediately to the 1,500 UK staff whose jobs have either already been axed or hang in the balance.
There is no getting over the fact that 2e2 is the largest channel bankruptcy for years and its demise will have a huge impact on hundreds of employees and countless suppliers.
We just hope that something is salvaged from the wreckage.
Automation firms UiPath and Automation Anywhere close out their funding rounds with $265m and $300m respectively
View photos of last night's awards ceremony in London
View photos of all the winners from the 2018 Channel Awards
After a glittering awards evening in Battersea celebrating 25 years of the Awards, we are pleased to share the list of winners and judges' commended winners