Category Archives for "Managed Services News"

Jan 18

Microsoft to Acquire Game Developer Activision Blizzard for Nearly $70 Billion

By | Managed Services News

The giant deal will expand Microsoft’s gaming business growth across mobile.

Microsoft has acquired Activision Blizzard, the game developer and interactive entertainment content publisher, for $68.7 billion in cash. Microsoft expects the acquisition to accelerate the growth of its gaming business across mobile, PC, console and cloud. It also will provide building blocks for the metaverse.

Furthermore, this deal positions Microsoft to become the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony. The planned acquisition includes iconic franchises from the Activision, Blizzard and King studios like “Warcraft,” “Diablo,” “Overwatch,” “Call of Duty” and “Candy Crush. In addition, Microsoft gets global esports activities through Major League Gaming. The company has studios around the word with nearly 10,000 employees.

Mobile

Microsoft's Satya Nadella

Microsoft’s Satya Nadella

Satya Nadella is chairman and CEO of Microsoft.

“Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms,” Nadella said. “We’re investing deeply in world-class content, community and the cloud to usher in a new era of gaming that puts players and creators first and makes gaming safe, inclusive and accessible to all.”

Bobby Kotick will continue to serve as CEO of Activision Blizzard. He and his team will maintain their focus on further strengthening the company’s culture and growing their business. Once the deal closes, the Activision Blizzard business will report to Phil Spencer, CEO, Microsoft Gaming.

“Players everywhere love Activision Blizzard games, and we believe the creative teams have their best work in front of them. Together we will build a future where people can play the games they want, virtually anywhere they want.,” Spencer said.

Microsoft's Phil Spencer

Microsoft’s Phil Spencer

 

Mobile is the largest segment in gaming, with nearly 95% of all players globally enjoying games on mobile. As a result, Microsoft and Activision Blizzard will empower players to enjoy immersive franchises, like “Halo” and “Warcraft,” virtually anywhere they want. Also, Activision Blizzard´s mobile business represents a significant presence and opportunity for Microsoft in this fast-growing segment. Take “Candy Crush” as an example.

Game Pass Portfolio

The acquisition also bolsters Microsoft’s Game Pass portfolio with plans to launch Activision Blizzard games into Game Pass, which has reached a new milestone of over 25 million subscribers. With Activision Blizzard’s nearly 400 million monthly active players in 190 countries and three billion-dollar franchises, this acquisition will up Game Pass’ “game” with more diverse content. Upon close, Microsoft will have 30 internal game development studios, along with additional publishing and esports production capabilities.

Moreover, gaming is now the largest and fastest-growing form of entertainment as 3 billion people actively play games today.

Bobby Kotick is CEO of Activision Blizzard.

“For more than 30 years our incredibly talented teams have created some of the most successful games,” Kotick said. “The combination of Activision Blizzard’s world-class talent and extraordinary franchises with Microsoft’s technology, distribution, access to talent, ambitious vision and shared commitment to gaming and inclusion will help ensure our continued success in an increasingly competitive industry.”

Jan 18

Big Channel M&A Update: 8×8, CDW, ConnectWise, Ingram Micro, More

By | Managed Services News

A global cloud service provider and a boutique IT services and support firm were among those acquired.

M&A news continues to dominate the channel in recent months, and December was no exception. There were some enormous deals, including the much talked about 8×8 acquisition of competitor Fuze. Although that deal was among Channel Futures’ most-read stories, the transaction didn’t have the biggest price tag. At least five of the companies we feature in the slideshow above are deals worth more than $1 billion dollars. And one is valued at close to $30 billion.

However, some channel companies were less about acquisition and more about shedding assets. Ingram Micro sold a division of its company to one of France’s largest companies. The sale is worth billions as well.

Speaking of bllions, CDW closed on its purchase of Sirius, a deal with huge MSP ramifications.

Scroll through the images above to see the latest deals in the channel. Then check out what we thought were the biggest mergers and acquisitions of 2021!

Jan 18

Big Channel M&A Update: 8×8, CDW, ConnectWise, Ingram Micro, More

By | Managed Services News

A global cloud service provider and a boutique IT services and support firm were among those acquired.

M&A news continues to dominate the channel in recent months, and December was no exception. There were some enormous deals, including the much talked about 8×8 acquisition of competitor Fuze. Although that deal was among Channel Futures’ most-read stories, the transaction didn’t have the biggest price tag. At least five of the companies we feature in the slideshow above are deals worth more than $1 billion dollars. And one is valued at close to $30 billion.

However, some channel companies were less about acquisition and more about shedding assets. Ingram Micro sold a division of its company to one of France’s largest companies. The sale is worth billions as well.

Speaking of bllions, CDW closed on its purchase of Sirius, a deal with huge MSP ramifications.

Scroll through the images above to see the latest deals in the channel. Then check out what we thought were the biggest mergers and acquisitions of 2021!

Jan 18

New Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Index Adds Fuel to Great Multicloud Debate

By | Managed Services News

IT pros tell the vendor they use multicloud most. But can it really be done well? Even some MSPs aren’t convinced.

Can multicloud really be done well? That’s an ongoing topic of debate in the partner world. To be sure, there is no clear or simple answer. But Nutanix, in its latest Enterprise Cloud Index, says multicloud represents the most common cloud computing deployment model.

On Tuesday, Nutanix, a publicly traded hybrid multicloud computing provider, unveiled findings from its fourth annual Enterprise Cloud Index. The report assesses global cloud adoption among enterprises. This year’s survey indicates that over the next three years, multicloud use will jump to 64%. Moreover, it’s already the primary approach to cloud computing, enterprises told Nutanix.

But there’s a drawback to multicloud, one with which MSPs are all too familiar. Nutanix’s respondents (1,700 IT decision makers from around the world) said managing cloud across different environments is complex and challenging. A majority (87%) told Nutanix that multicloud success requires simpler management across mixed-cloud infrastructures.

Multicloud Debate

That points to the crux of the multicloud debate. MSPs are asking whether it’s possible to support various brands with the necessary levels of expertise, including knowledge in security, integration, interoperability, DevOps and more.

Ensono's Duan Van Der Westhuizen

Ensono’s Duan Van Der Westhuizen

“I used to believe multicloud was the next wave,” Duan van der Westhuizen, senior vice president of public cloud at MSP Ensono, said at the inaugural Channel Partners Cloud Roundtable in November. Ultimately, though, “it’s too complicated,” he said.

SADA CEO Tony Safoian agreed.

SADA Systems' Tony Safoian

SADA’s Tony Safoian

“It’s very hard, operationally. … You have to be super sophisticated,” he said.

Such complications spurred SADA to turn into a Google Cloud-only MSP in 2019.

When it comes to multicloud challenges, enterprise respondents to Nutanix’s survey cite the following difficulties:

  • Managing security (49%)
  • Data integration (49%)
  • Cost across different clouds (43%)

Multicloud ‘Here to Stay,’ and Other Enterprise Cloud Index Discoveries

MSPs will find those issues familiar and the debate about multicloud likely won’t let up soon. Nutanix maintains that the solution lies in a hybrid multicloud model — which uses both public and private environments with interoperability features. That, of course, sums up Nutanix’s business model.

“The Enterprise Cloud Index shows that multicloud is here to stay — and the only operating model that is expected to increase in the coming years,” Nutanix channel chief Christian Alvarez told Channel Futures. “But most companies are facing challenges when managing multiple clouds, private and public. The top challenges are security and data integration for nearly half of respondents, followed closely by cost for 43%. Helping address these challenges with technology solutions to bridge the gap between multiple clouds is a huge opportunity for partners to bring value and ease of management to their customers.”

Some other findings from the latest Enterprise Cloud Index likely won’t surprise partners too much, either. For instance, because of COVID-19, almost all organizations (91% of respondents) have moved at least one application to a new IT environment in the last 12 months. MSPs oversaw many of those migrations. What that figure does underscore is “the need for uniform management and operations across different cloud environments to avoid costly and time-consuming efforts to move applications,” Alvarez said.

And some welcome insight that affirms trends MSPs already are seeing: Almost three-quarters of IT decision makers say their organizations now perceive IT as more strategic than they once did. Indeed, the pandemic has proven the value of technology – cloud, in particular – and its ability to keep people productive and connected regardless of location.

On that note, 61% of respondents told Nutanix they continue to offer more flexible work setups because of the impact of COVID-19. Indeed, the omicron variant has prompted conglomerates including Facebook to cancel their plans to bring people back into the office. That means more opportunity for MSPs to help customers support remote and hybrid work models.

Nutanix looked to research firm Vanson Bourne to conduct the survey for its fourth-annual Enterprise Cloud Index. Analysts polled 1,700 IT decision makers in multiple industries, business sizes and geographies.

 

Jan 18

Big Channel M&A Update: 8×8, CDW, ConnectWise, Ingram Micro, More

By | Managed Services News

A global cloud service provider and a boutique IT services and support firm were among those acquired.

M&A news continues to dominate the channel in recent months, and December was no exception. There were some enormous deals, including the much talked about 8×8 acquisition of competitor Fuze. Although that deal was among Channel Futures’ most-read stories, the transaction didn’t have the biggest price tag. At least five of the companies we feature in the slideshow above are deals worth more than $1 billion dollars. And one is valued at close to $30 billion.

However, some channel companies were less about acquisition and more about shedding assets. Ingram Micro sold a division of its company to one of France’s largest companies. The sale is worth billions as well.

Speaking of bllions, CDW closed on its purchase of Sirius, a deal with huge MSP ramifications.

Scroll through the images above to see the latest deals in the channel. Then check out what we thought were the biggest mergers and acquisitions of 2021!

Jan 18

Big Channel M&A Update: 8×8, CDW, ConnectWise, Ingram Micro, More

By | Managed Services News

A global cloud service provider and a boutique IT services and support firm were among those acquired.

M&A news continues to dominate the channel in recent months, and December was no exception. There were some enormous deals, including the much talked about 8×8 acquisition of competitor Fuze. Although that deal was among Channel Futures’ most-read stories, the transaction didn’t have the biggest price tag. At least five of the companies we feature in the slideshow above are deals worth more than $1 billion dollars. And one is valued at close to $30 billion.

However, some channel companies were less about acquisition and more about shedding assets. Ingram Micro sold a division of its company to one of France’s largest companies. The sale is worth billions as well.

Speaking of bllions, CDW closed on its purchase of Sirius, a deal with huge MSP ramifications.

Scroll through the images above to see the latest deals in the channel. Then check out what we thought were the biggest mergers and acquisitions of 2021!

Jan 18

Big Channel M&A Update: 8×8, CDW, ConnectWise, Ingram Micro, More

By | Managed Services News

A global cloud service provider and a boutique IT services and support firm were among those acquired.

M&A news continues to dominate the channel in recent months, and December was no exception. There were some enormous deals, including the much talked about 8×8 acquisition of competitor Fuze. Although that deal was among Channel Futures’ most-read stories, the transaction didn’t have the biggest price tag. At least five of the companies we feature in the slideshow above are deals worth more than $1 billion dollars. And one is valued at close to $30 billion.

However, some channel companies were less about acquisition and more about shedding assets. Ingram Micro sold a division of its company to one of France’s largest companies. The sale is worth billions as well.

Speaking of bllions, CDW closed on its purchase of Sirius, a deal with huge MSP ramifications.

Scroll through the images above to see the latest deals in the channel. Then check out what we thought were the biggest mergers and acquisitions of 2021!

Jan 18

Getting Beyond Voice: Selling More and Making More with Cloud Services

By | Managed Services News

Continue selling what you’ve always been selling, or you can tap into this much bigger world.

J Arnold & Associates' Jon Arnold

Jon Arnold

What You’re Selling — Seeing the Bigger Picture

If you’re in the business of selling communications technology, you’ve likely been selling voice for many years, and more recently, you’ve probably started offering cloud services. Whether your customers want to continue with premises-based telephony or migrate to the cloud for VoIP, these forms of voice services have become commodities with little to room to grow margins or add-on revenues. You can choose to stay in that comfort zone, but you also know that cloud services are where the growth is.

Helping move your customers off-prem to cloud is a great first step, but there’s a much bigger opportunity in front of you than VoIP, and to see it you must think beyond telephony, as well as beyond voice. The cloud is about all forms of communications, including meetings, video, collaboration, security and even contact center. We’re now in the age of digital communications, where all these various channels run over the same data network, and increasingly, they’re been delivered from a common cloud platform.

Whereas telephony is a mature market with very little innovation on the horizon, cloud communications is booming. Not only is there a lot of runway ahead to migrate premises-based customers to the cloud, but this space is constantly innovating, with both new features to make existing applications stickier, and new services to create new revenue streams and grow your MRR.

In terms of what you sell, the takeaway is that you can continue selling what you’ve always been selling, or you can tap into this much bigger world that is quickly opening up for anyone who is ready for it. Most channel partners want to sell more cloud services, and end customers want to buy more cloud services.

If you don’t jump in to provide them, somebody else will, and chances are good they won’t have much expertise selling telephony. That expertise actually won’t be necessary, and you could end up losing more than telephony revenues. So, the choice is yours, and here are two factors to help you protect your customer base and get you on the path to cloud services.

How You’re Selling — Showing a Bigger Picture

Getting you to see the bigger picture is the starting point, and from there, you need to show that same picture to your customers. They’ll never buy it until they can see it, and they won’t buy it from you unless you can show them why they should.

This brings us to how you’re selling, and as you know, there are several business models to choose from. If you’re an agent, you know the limits of that model, including the risks. Agents can continue selling all forms of voice services indefinitely, but margins will only get smaller, and as businesses adopt cloud services, fewer of them will keep buying voice as a standalone service. With VoIP, agents can keep selling voice to their core base, but for those customers to buy a broader range of cloud services from you, you’ll need to up your agent game.

You could do that as an agent, but you’ll need to up-level your technical expertise, not just so customers will have confidence buying from you, but also to find cloud services partners who will work with you. Again, the choice is yours, and if you want to grow your business for today and build residual value for an exit tomorrow, you’ll need to move to the reseller model, where you own the customer relationship and provide the initial support and billing for the services you offer. If you see the bigger picture outlined above, then it should be clear why this move is the best investment you can make in your future.

This is really about positioning yourself further along the value-chain spectrum, not just for selling commoditized services, but in building deeper relationships with your customers. They can buy telephony from anybody, but cloud services touches on their entire operations, and for that, you need to be a trusted partner.

As an agent, they may trust you for telephony, but not for collaboration, not for meetings, and not for contact center. As a trusted partner, however, you can sell them all of this with cloud services, but you can’t get there from here. At minimum, you’ll need to become a reseller, and if that’s the picture you want your customers to see, your game plan should now be pretty clear.

Who You’re Selling — Delivering the Bigger Picture

In order to go from being pretty clear to crystal clear, having the right business model is only half of the equation for selling cloud services. The other half is about who you’re going to be selling to take advantage of this bigger opportunity. On one level, this is about selling technology; just like there are many VoIP providers you can sell telephony with, there are many cloud providers for this broader range of cloud services.

While there is a growing list of cloud providers who offer all the communications technology your customers could possibly need, there are other levels that will be …

Jan 18

Big Channel M&A Update: 8×8, CDW, ConnectWise, Ingram Micro, More

By | Managed Services News

A global cloud service provider and a boutique IT services and support firm were among those acquired.

M&A news continues to dominate the channel in recent months, and December was no exception. There were some enormous deals, including the much talked about 8×8 acquisition of competitor Fuze. Although that deal was among Channel Futures’ most-read stories, the transaction didn’t have the biggest price tag. At least five of the companies we feature in the slideshow above are deals worth more than $1 billion dollars. And one is valued at close to $30 billion.

However, some channel companies were less about acquisition and more about shedding assets. Ingram Micro sold a division of its company to one of France’s largest companies. The sale is worth billions as well.

Speaking of bllions, CDW closed on its purchase of Sirius, a deal with huge MSP ramifications.

Scroll through the images above to see the latest deals in the channel. Then check out what we thought were the biggest mergers and acquisitions of 2021!

Jan 18

10 Channel People Making Waves This Week at Intel, Verizon, More

By | Managed Services News

One of our most-read stories involved criminal behavior.

Sometimes what makes a top story for the Channel Futures’ audience is obvious. A highly anticipated merger or acquisition can get the most reads. Often a channel promotion captures readers’ attention. This week, neither topics did. One of our most read and talked about stories was an editorial discussing sexual harassment in the channel. That’s why we’ve featured Dany Bouchedid, who authored the piece, in this week’s Channel People Making Waves.

Of course, our analytics showed foundational stories making an impact, too. The founders of Bridgepointe Technologies are showcased because the company has received a sizeable investment. It’s part of the trend — private equity is becoming a key player in the channel.

When it comes to cybersecurity, it seems as if each week we publish a story of note. For this week, CF talked to two experts who can keep us on track regarding the log4j attacks. Their expertise provides a sigh of relief for companies trying to get ahead of the attacks.

Whether it’s a discussion with Verizon’s new channel chief or a retirement at a major technology firm, we have it here, the individuals making waves this week in the channel community.

Click on the slideshow above to discover who they are and to see which stories you read the most the week of Jan. 10-14. We count them down from seven to one.

Miss last week’s Channel People Making Waves? Here it is.

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