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Industry News - January 29th, 2010



Resellers Tell Apple They Want the iPad

Apple resellers say they are already getting requests from business customers for the iPad. But Apple, apparently, hasn't ironed out whether the new tablet PC will be sold through its reseller channel partner program or not.

With Apple's Mac and iPhone platforms gaining more traction in businesses in recent years, is there any question that the iPad, the company's new tablet device, will follow suit? Apple reseller channel partners already see a big opportunity to take the device to their business customers, which are already requesting it.

But apparently there's still a question as to whether the iPad will be available through Apple reseller channel partners.

"Yes, I do think there's a great channel partner opportunity for the iPad," Angela O'Donnell, managing director of New York-based IT solution provider W. O'Donnell Consulting, tells Channel Insider.

"However, when I inquired [of] my preferred distributor, Tech Data, this morning ... whether or not we could place any preorders, I was told that Apple had not yet decided whether or not Tech Data would be able to carry it," O'Donnell says. "So, it's a bit of a mystery to me so far as to whether or not we'll be able to sell it or if it will go the way of the iPhone so that only AT&T stores and Apple are selling them."

Tech Data did not immediately return calls requesting comment.

Tech Data operates an Apple-focused specialized business unit, and in 2009 opened an Apple Lab at its technology solutions center in Clearwater, Fla. The IT distributor carries Mac products, but does not carry the iPhone, which, as mentioned above, is only available through iPhone wireless carrier AT&T and from Apple directly.

The iPad's least expensive configuration offers Wi-Fi without any kind of wireless data plan, so it's possible that would be available through the channel since it's more like a Mac in that way. However, more expensive models rely on a 3G network and data plans through AT&T.

"I'm really hoping that we're able to sell them because it looks like a fantastic product and I've had a number of requests to put them on order already," O'Donnell said.

Even if Apple does not make the iPad available through IT solution provider resellers, there is likely an opportunity for some in integrating the systems into business IT infrastructure.

"We standardized on the iPhone platform as soon as it was able to integrate with Microsoft Exchange Server," Doug Ford of The I.T. Pros, a San Diego-based IT solution provider and MSP, tells Channel Insider. "We recommend them to our customers as their primary cell phone platform. The advantages are tremendous. The business applications increase productivity and the great games make executives very happy."

Ford adds, "We have no immediate plans to work with the iPad, but if it is as valuable to us and our customers as the iPhone I am sure we'll work with it."


Now Available: Card-Not-Present Risk Mitigation

Verifi, Inc., a provider of payment risk management solutions for card-not-present (CNP) merchants, and Kount Inc., a Boise, Idaho-based company that specializes in CNP fraud prevention, have partnered to jointly deliver a technology solution to equip merchants with a powerful set of risk mitigation and business management capabilities.

The partnership integrates Kount's Multi-Layer Device Fingerprinting and predictive scoring technology into Verifi's platform, expanding the breadth of the Device Intelligence component of Verifi's innovative Intelligence Suite. Merchants are able to identify, track and defeat fraudulent users by linking suspect orders in real time, across the shared database.

The pairing also brings Kount's case management and order review queue functionality to Verifi's platform, empowering merchants to efficiently deploy targeted strategies to accept, review and decline orders, streamlining the order review and acceptance process. Verifi's flexible platform allows acceptance strategies to be fine tuned with surgical precision to minimize any impact to the consumer experience during the checkout process, while effectively mitigating fraud and risk from all sales channels across the enterprise.


Oracle Acquies Sun Microsystems

Oracle Corporation has completed its acquisition of Sun Microsystems, Inc. Combination of the local entities worldwide will proceed in accordance with local laws.

Oracle will hosted an all-day live event, which also was a webcast, for customers, partners, press and analysts on Jan. 27 at its headquarters in Redwood Shores, Calif.

This combination transforms the IT industry. With the addition of servers, storage, SPARC processors, the Solaris operating system, Java, and the MySQL database to Oracle's portfolio of database, middleware, and business applications, we plan to engineer and deliver open and integrated systems -- from applications to disk -- where all the pieces fit and work together out of the box. Each layer of the stack will be architected to improve performance, leverage innovation and centralize management so that IT will be more predictable, more supportable, and more secure. Customers will benefit as their system performance, reliability and security goes up and their system integration and management costs go down.


Sundrop Offers Txt-To-Go Mobile Ordering

Sundrop Systems, Inc., the creator of loyalTXT, the cardless loyalty solution has released of Txt-To-Go Mobile Ordering, which allows restaurant patrons to place pick-up orders with their favorite restaurants via text message.

With Txt-To-Go, patrons simply text in their desired order to Txt-To-Go: the service redelivers the order to the restaurant and sends a confirmation number back to the patron. For example, a patron may text: "Order 1 lg pizza, pepperoni, xtra cheese" which will cause the order, with the patron's mobile number and confirmation number, to be delivered to the restaurant for fulfillment. The restaurant can resolve order questions by calling the provided patron’s mobile number or by using Sundrop's companion two-way text paging service.

Patrons have the option to pre-register their favorites online with the Txt-To-Go service, allowing them to text: "Order the usual add side salad ranch" to the service. Patrons may also register a merchant gift card with Txt-To-Go: the gift card information will be transmitted with their order to the restaurant, allowing the patron to pick up their order without standing in the payment line -- just "Grab-n-go." Restaurants can also pre-configure specials that patrons can query and order via the service.

The Txt-To-Go service provides customer convenience, allowing orders to be placed from anywhere. Preliminary studies indicate that the ease-of-use of the Txt-To-Go service increases customer frequency and satisfaction, as well as accelerating restaurant gift card sales as patrons take advantage of the Gran-n-go feature. Txt-To-Go allows merchants to now focus more attention on their in-house customers, rather than spending time constantly answering the phone to accept to-go orders, since all text orders are automatically sent to their store.


BlueStar, Star Micronics Offer QuickBooks POS Bundle

BlueStar announces new Intuit POS Hardware Bundle made possible through a partnership with Star Micronics. This QuickBooks Point of Sale value bundle combines hardware and software components into one all-inclusive solution for ISPs. This POS solution features a Star Micronics receipt printer along with a cash drawer, scanner, and card reader. All bundle components are certified and guaranteed to work with Intuit QuickBooks Point of Sale and are now available at BlueStar for a low introductory price. 

When combined with Intuit QuickBooks Point of Sale software, this solution allows vendors to increase sales with easy inventory and store management. Retailers are able to manage inventory in real time, while capturing data for mailings, special offers and loyalty programs. This solution gives retailers the tools they need to improve profits with instant reports on sales, customers, and inventory trends.

"Star Micronics products have been integrated since the first release of Intuit QuickBooks. So, we are proud to partner with BlueStar to offer the 'Classic' QuickBooks TSP100 printer," says Christophe Naasz, Business Development Director at Star Micronics. "Star is known for its quality products and reliability, which is why we are offering a free overnight 'Swap' to all U.S. QuickBooks customers for any non-working TSP100 unit during its first year. "

"Our relationship with Star Micronics shows our commitment to providing value-added resellers with complete POS solution at an affordable price," says Rob Dorsey, BlueStar's Vice President of U.S. Sales. "BlueStar value bundles give resellers the ability to both implement and integrate technology solutions quickly and efficiently."


Mercury Offers New Monthly RSPA Monthly Dues Option

The Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) announced a new membership dues billing option from integrated payment processor, Mercury Payment Systems. 

Mercury makes it possible for point of sale (POS) resellers and developers to pay dues in monthly installments at no extra charge. Previously, RSPA members paid the one-time annual fee upfront.
Interested professionals contact RSPA to establish their membership rate (determined by company revenue volume). Existing Mercury partners that are new to RSPA get a 25 percent discount on their membership dues. Once enrolled in the monthly billing option, MercuryFund payment technology facilitates the payment of dues.

"Mercury is delighted to leverage our payment technology to make it easy for POS resellers and developers to become members of thier professional association," said Tom Reichart, vice president of business development of Mercury Payment Systems. "RSPA is an invaluable resource for us all."

"This new payment option makes it easier for POS resellers to join and renew RSPA membership and remain professionally connected with the industry,"  said J. Joseph Finizio, president and CEO of RSPA.


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