Dells Channel Secret; Suns Open Struggle; Trusted OSes

Opinion: Dell does a brisk business with resellers; Sun will do everything but open-source Java; get an in-depth look at trusted operating systems.

Maybe its time for Michael Dell and Kevin Rollins to attend a Channel Anonymous meeting and introduce themselves: "Were Dell, and we use the channel." Its OK to admit it. Dell gets about a fifth of its revenue from channel partners, according to industry sources, report eWeek senior writers John Hazard and John J. Spooner. It has to be hard to admit.

Officials wont confirm any number of channel revenue or partners. Dell basically built and perfected the direct model all the way up to being the No. 1 PC supplier in the world. But in reality, a good chunk of that direct sale goes to resellers, many of whom are going with Dell at the request of customers, Hazard reports.

The point is, its not only OK for Dell to do business with resellers but also imperative, and it would be a good idea to expand those relationships. Dells earnings "miss" announced on May 9—the company still expects $14.2 billion in revenue, down from a high-end estimate of $14.6 billion—does not indicate a company in serious trouble, but a company whose growth is slowing, as it inevitably will in a mature market.

Coming out of the closet with more channel partners will open up Dell to more companies, and more market share, and help it compete more effectively with the likes of Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo.

Another company that needs to get over its fear is Sun Microsystems, which at JavaOne May 16-19, will do everything but open-source Java. Our coverage details many initiatives new CEO Jonathan Schwartz will announce to loosen the shackles around Java, including agreements with top Linux distributions such as Ubuntu and Debian.

Finally, do not miss eWeek Labs in-depth report on trusted operating systems and what they can mean for your enterprise. Senior Analyst Jason Brooks says that Sun, Novell and Red Hat are making their trusted platforms more accessible to IT managers but not to malicious exploits.

Even Microsoft is getting into the game, albeit tentatively, with reduced privileges coming in Vista. "With security concerns rising and changing by the hour," Brooks writes, "its now a matter of trust for any organization looking to tighten its computing ship."

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Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. Prior to joining Ziff Brothers, Scot was the editorial director, Business Applications & Architecture,...