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While Dell may be looking to take more of its business through the channel, Apple seems to be taking more of its business direct. TechCentral.ie today reports that Apple’s worldwide direct sales grown to overtake those from the channel. According to the report, the company’s direct sales, made up of sales through retail stores and the vendor’s online store, have reached 51 percent for Q2 2008, up from 49 percent in Q1.

Currently Apple has 208 stores, with plans to open another 45 before the end of September, the report says. And those store openings may be hurting local resellers, with one in Glasgow closing down shop after an Apple company store opened there recently.

Motorola is looking to launch a wireless-specific channel program, according to ChannelWeb. The Motorola Enterprise WLAN VAR Development program will be ready in a month or two but will include the company’s radio frequency (RF) management suite for planning and managing WLANs, and will also allow VARs to offer managed services around the suite. The program comes from Motorola’s Partner Select Program and will include lead programs, marketing support and training for certification, plus quarterly rebates

SAP is expanding its PartnerEdge Channel Program from one that serves resellers to one that also serves ISVs and service companies such as systems integrators and consultants, according to ChannelWeb. The program will embrace partners from SAP’s acquisition of Business Objects, the BI software developer SAP acquired in January for nearly $7 billion. The company will also work with IBM and HP to develop preconfigured ERP hardware/software solutions for midmarket customers.

The company also recently announced it is expanding its referral rewards program for partners.

Trade association Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) has updated its CompTIA University web site with an eye to helping solution providers become more business-savvy.

As the industry evolves to focus on business, rather than pushing technology, the channel has been working to realign its priorities. This CompTIA development is another manifestation of this trend.

According to the trade association, CompTIA University focuses on three key areas: maximizing business performance, improving customer satisfaction and professional improvement for business owners and staff.

At the Defense Information Systems Agency Customer Partnership Conference in Orlando this morning, McAfee and Microsoft are showing off new network access control tools designed to enforce access policies and perform health checks on network devices.

The solution, currently in trials at the Department of Defense, integrates McAfee’s NAC capabilities with Network Access Protection platform built into Windows Server 2008. The tool should prove useful for the myriad government users and solution providers already heavily invested in both McAfee and Microsoft products, according to officials from both vendors.

The offering will provide more than 600 endpoint health check tests for the native Microsoft platform, covering hundreds of software applications and Windows patch levels. The Microsoft and McAfee tool also proactively remediates out-of-policy devices, and it centralizes endpoint enforcement using McAfee’s ePolicy Orchestrator, officials said.