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Channel Reg Weekly

By | Billy MacInnes 12th April 2007 10:08

Dell and Adobe UK look for their calculators

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Dell makes the channel feel good

Good news for the channel, Dell had another bad week. As if being ticked off by Nasdaq for not handing in regulatory filings for its past fiscal year wasn't bad enough, the direct vendor also had a bad fourth quarter in laptop sales. Shipments fell 1.5 per cent from the third quarter to 3.52 million units.

By contrast, Acer was going great guns, vaulting over Toshiba to take third place in the world notebook market. It also emerged that if Dell has something in its pocket from now on it might very well be pleased to see you because it definitely won't be an Axim handheld computer. But there are rumours it could enter the smart phone market instead.

Adobe makes UK users feel poorer

Adobe Systems did not endear itself to UK users when it was discovered to be charging them more than double the price of their counterparts in California to upgrade to Creative Suite 3 Design Premium from CS2.3. The cost in the US is $471.90 compared to £546.38 ($1080.31) for UK users, a 130 per cent mark up.

Adobe defended the massive price differential by saying: "We set pricing in each market based on customer research, local market conditions and the cost of doing business...It is worth pointing out that Adobe's customers set high expectations in terms of seminars, training, events and value added reseller channels. We have a long history of serving our customers in local markets the way they want to do business. We therefore incur these additional local costs and have to reflect them in our business model."

Which suggests US customers must be content with really crap service.

Too many chips

Another company that had a bad week was AMD which issued its second revenue warning in as many months. The chip maker admitted first quarter revenue would be around $1.23bn, well below the original forecast of $1.6bn and $1.7bn. But the market reacted favourably to news it would restructure to lower costs in 2007 by $500m.

Disk drive vendor Seagate also cut its revenue expectations for the third quarter to $2.8bn from $2.9bn-$3bn, blaming aggressive pricing competition and lower than expected demand for 3.5 inch ATA disk drives.

Sound and vision

On a more positive note, broadline distributor Computer 2000 announced a move into the audiovisual market with the ambition of becoming "the distributor of choice in the sector" over the coming year. The new strategy will be headed up by Darren Sainsbury who has worked on a number of projects for the distributor over two decades.

"There are opportunities for all resellers in this market and Computer 2000 is the best company for them to work with in audiovisual," he said.

What a load of rubbish

One group which isn't happy is small IT retailers and suppliers who complain they are being forced to pay more than their fair share for the disposal of junked electronic kit.

The Independent Trade Association of Computing Specialists (ITACS) claims cost increases for small IT businesses to dispose of WEEE could be "up to 15 times higher" than for their larger rivals.

Small is beautiful too

Still, if small businesses were feeling a little hard done by last week, IBM and HP were doing their best to make them feel loved. HP announced a new model in its All-in-One Storage line which is aimed at small and medium sized businesses. Admittedly, the earth didn't move, but it was a gesture at least.

Meanwhile, IBM wooed SMBs with its System i Express. The single box comes with a built-in OS, security tools, backup and recovery software, web-based management and a web server. Sounds like a good pitch, particularly to older readers who will recall the System i when it was called the AS/400, an IBM machine which enjoyed phenomenal success in the SME sector.

The waiting is the hardest part

Microsoft had its usual week which, nowadays, is all too often mixed at best. El Reg reported that many people hoping to redeem their free Windows Vista upgrade vouchers for machines bought before the official launch on 30 January are still waiting. Maybe Microsoft thought that after waiting five years for the operating system customers wouldn't be so pushy about a couple more months.

Licence for ill

Meanwhile, the FT claimed Microsoft could expect very little compensation for handing over sensitive technical information about Windows to its rivals.

The European Commission has labelled Microsoft's demands for 5.95 per cent of companies' server revenue for royalties as excessive. The FT claimed a confidential document it had seen suggested Microsoft would receive little or no licence fee payments from rivals, including IBM, Sun, and Oracle.

If it's Tuesday, it must be patch day

Microsoft also released six bulletins on Tuesday, five for critical vulnerabilities including flaws in Universal Plug and Play, Windows CSRSS, Microsoft Agent, and Microsoft Content Management Server that create a means for hackers to inject code into vulnerable systems.

Still on the security front, Oracle announced plans to release 37 security patches next week as part of its quarterly update cycle. More here.

Not the Windows WoW factor we had in mind

We all know about the Windows Vista WoW factor, but subscribers to World of Warcraft (also known as WoW) are experiencing more of a Windows oW factor. Many are still having their accounts stolen more than 11 months after hackers began targeting them using a Trojan attack.

Official: Crime is ended

Among all these examples of criminality, it's nice to hear some good news of the forces of darkness being vanquished. So congratulations to the UK government which has almost eliminated mobile phone theft.

According to the Home Office, 80 per cent of handsets are now blocked within 48 hours of a theft being notified. New jail terms have also been introduced for people trying to reprogramme stolen handsets. With this news, it seems people will soon be able to leave their doors unlocked again.

IT's not a fair cop

Mind you, we don't suppose the Home Office would be as happy with the one third of UK businesses who don't report information security breaches and crimes because they don't want to get a reputation of being known as a target of hacker attacks.

A survey of 285 firms found businesses were subject to hacking attacks on an almost daily basis. But reporting crime to the police can create a real PR risk when the press finds out, according to media lawyer Jonathan Coad at Swan Turton.

P45s at the speed of light

Technology and innovation are bringing good news for BT broadband customers. The introduction of 21st Century Network (21CN) fibre optic nationwide by 2011 will deliver speeds of 24Mbps and generate £1bn in annual cost savings. Bad news for engineers - it will also deliver job losses of to up to 6,500.

Iceland wants your servers

It's not often we get to write about Iceland, but last week saw an interesting piece about Microsoft and Cisco considering plans to establish server farms in the country that would be fully powered by renewable energy. The Reykjavik Energy Company is talking to both companies to see if server farms could be run using geothermal and hydroelectric power.

Things we had to leave out

No time to mention the new standards proposal to allow Fibre Channel protocol over Ethernet networks. No space either for Apple's announcement that it has sold 100 million iPods since November 2001. The same goes for the suggestion that IBM has shifted the delivery date for its Power6 chip from mid-2007 to the more nebulous "to come".

We won't even go near the story that Sun and Unisys plan to file a new lawsuit against Hynix Semiconductor and six other DRAM manufacturers after a federal judge dropped a previous suit.

And you must be a loony if you think we going to have anything to do with the businessman in Nevada who is selling plots of real estate on the moon at $20 an acre.

Things we wished we'd put in

It would have been nice to mention Nextwave's acquisition of IP Wireless for a total of $214m in cash and shares. IP Wireless specialises in time-division-duplex (TDD) 3G spectrum which no one uses.

Similarly, we could have found space for Iona's purchase of LogicBlaze, a company which provides business integration solutions based on open source technologies.

On a slightly sillier note, it might have been fun to include the story about the Turkish citizen caught on CCTV sodomising a sheep. Sheesh, is that any place to put your kebab? ®

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