The VAR Guy is ready to unplug for the weekend. But before our resident blogger heads home, here are the nine most read channel partner news stories from our blog network -- The VAR Guy, MSPmentor and Talkin' Cloud -- for the week ending January 6, 2012.

9. Happy Birthday. ConnectWise Capital, the investment arm of ConnectWise, turns two years old this month. But what motivated the ConnectWise Capital investments and how are they performing for ConnectWise? And more importantly: Are VARs and MSPs seeing upside? Some analysis.

8. New Year, New CEOs: The VAR Guy takes a look at new or recently installed CEOs at AMD, Apple, IBM, Google and Hewlett-Packard. Oh my.

7. Making Her Mark. New IBM CEO Virginia Rometty hits the ground running at Big Blue.

6. The First MSP Acquisition of 2012. Who was involved? Network Depot buying Evolve Technologies. Here are the details.

5. An AMD Turnaround at CES? A look at AMD CEO Rory Read, and a potential turnaround strategy at the struggling chip company.

4. An SMB Alternative. Can Zentyal's Linux-based small business server score with channel partners? The VAR Guy was skeptical but reader comments sure said yes.

3. A True Microsoft Office Alternative? LibreOffice is a promising offshoot of OpenOffice. But it comes with plenty of question marks, notes Contributing Blogger Christopher Tozzi.

2. Microsoft's Surprise Guest. Linux could be coming to the Windows Azure cloud. But there's a catch involved for customers and partners.

1. The SOPA Controversy. Imagine the web without Google, FaceBook, Twitter and all of your favorite destinations. Contributing Blogger Matt Weinberger offers this analysis. Special thanks to Scott Simko of VirtaCore Systems. His cross-link to Talkin' Cloud drove a ton of readers our way.