1. APPLE WANTS A SLIMMED-DOWN CHANNEL
Apple has overhauled its channel approach in education, leaving just 14 UK resellers on its books for the competitive vertical, as the vendor continues its reseller reduction approach.
CRN understands that the vendor giant had between 24 and 26 Apple Solution Experts - Education (ASE) previously. The 14 remaining ASEs in education are: Academia, MCC, GBM, Trams, Albion, KRCS, Western Computer, Toucan, Jigsaw24, XMA, BT Direct Business, JTRS and for Ireland Wiggle and Compu b.
Alastair Edwards, chief analyst at Canalys, said Apple has always had "an interesting relationship with the channel", one that has been challenging for resellers due to the vendor's "rigid" nature.
"Overall, Apple's influence over the channel is waning and this latest move leaves the door open for other vendors to strengthen their relationships with resellers in the education vertical - the channel has options," he added.
Mark McCormack, group sales and marketing director at Academia, told CRN that in his 20 years of dealing with Apple, this was the most significant change for its channel. "Apple has an agenda to drive more value through their channel to end users in the education sector," he said.
2. WANNACRY IS DRIVING THE SECURITY BUSINESS
The response to recent cyberattacks has left resellers to profit from rattled businesses, with accelerated Windows 10 adoption.
Two years after its launch, 60 per cent of global organisations have adopted Windows 10, according to a new study by Spiceworks. The study, Windows 10 Adoption: Two Years After Launch, also found that Windows 10 has surpassed Windows XP to capture the second-highest share of operating systems.
Spiceworks accredited the Windows 10 surge to a response to recent cyberattacks. Dan Scarfe, founder of New Signature, told CRN that the research matched what the reseller is seeing in the market: "Windows 10 is front and centre for our clients, especially after the cyberattacks of recent months," he said.
3. AI STILL HAS MANY CONFUSED
Market hype and growing interest in AI are pushing established software vendors to introduce AI into their product strategy, but this is creating considerable confusion in the process, according to Gartner.
The huge increase in start-ups and established vendors all claiming to offer AI products without any real differentiation is confusing buyers, found the research house. More than 1,000 vendors with applications and platforms describe themselves as AI vendors, or say they employ AI in their products.
Many technology vendors are now "AI washing" by applying the AI label a little too indiscriminately, according to Gartner. This widespread use of "AI washing" is already having real consequences for investment in the technology.
4. LEGACY BUSINESS STILL WEIGHS ON IBM
IBM has seen its revenue decline for a 21st consecutive quarter as its legacy business continues to weigh down its emerging divisions.
For the three months ending 30 June, IBM saw revenue drop five per cent to $19.3bn, while gross profit was down 9.4 per cent to just under $8.7bn.
IBM saw year-on-year growth in its cloud business of 15 per cent, up to $3.9bn, but the Technology Services and Cloud Platforms division saw revenue drop five per cent to $8.4bn. Declines in revenue were also seen across Cognitive Solutions, Global Business Services, Systems and Global Financing. IBM however pointed to the areas of the business it classifies as "strategic imperatives" as a true reflection of the company's future direction.
5. UC MARKET AT POTENTIAL ‘TIPPING POINT'
ShoreTel's sale to Mitel is a reflection of a unified communications (UC) market that has reached a tipping point, where scale and R&D resources have become essential.
Mitel VP Todd Abbott claimed that ShoreTel's ability to compete in the UC market has severely diminished since Mitel first tried to buy the comms vendor.
Mitel first targeted ShoreTel in October 2014, and ShoreTel then snubbed a second takeover approach the following November, but now it seems the comms vendor has finally won over the object of its affections.
Abbott said that ShoreTel's smaller size and pool of R&D resources when compared with its UC rivals means it is in a worse position to compete than when it rejected Mitel's M&A offer three years ago.
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