Coinciding with its 10-year anniversary marking the creation of its worldwide reseller channel organization (RCO), Intel is reorganizing its product and channel groups as well as gearing up for the release of a new mobile platform code named Sonoma.

Sonoma,

which will be released as Intel’s next generation Centrino mobile platform for notebooks, will include CPU, chipset, wireless hardware and network connection software. The new Centrino platform will enable system builders to produce notebooks, not just for business applications but also for wireless communications, gaming, home theatre applications, and MP3 playback.

“From a business audience primarily the tri mode radio, 802.11a/g wireless LAN support, the new 915 Express chip set code named Alviso that brings PCI Express will make corporate notebooks workhorses,” said Doug Cooper, GM of Intel Canada Ltd. of Toronto.

Cooper also said that wireless software supports the latest Cisco compatible extensions, which improves security.

There is already more than 150 unique product skus for the new Centrino platform, which is 40 more than when Centrino was originally launched back in 2003, Cooper said.

According to Evans Research, Centrino accounts for more than 40 per cent of the mobile chipset market in Canada. Evans predicted that Centrino penetration would continue to grow. Meanwhile, IDC Canada stated Centrino technology has led to consumer adoption of notebooks at a rapid rate. The Toronto-based research firm added that notebook shipments as a percentage of total PC clients has risen to 27 per cent last year and are expected to reach 30 per cent in 2005.

“A large part of the 150 product skus will be white books,” Cooper said.

Intel also realigned itself this week by bringing all of its major product groups in line with the company’s strategy to drive development of complete technology platforms based on Intel ingredients.

The new business units will be made up of a mobility group, a digital enterprise group, a digital home group, a digital health group, and a channel products group.

Cooper said these changes would have some implications for Canada. “We needed to take a holistic view and focus the company around five platform areas and align all resources to give them the best experience.” Cooper added that the strategy behind these moves for the channel would improve training and collateral material on all the platforms.

“In the past, the focus was on the end notebook with a processor,” Cooper said. “Centrino is much broader than past (platforms) and we made sure the consumer understood the experience.”

Intel’s channel turns 10

Ten years ago today Intel established a Reseller Channel Organization of distributors, resellers, dealers, local integrators and a special sales team to drive business through this channel. Today, the RCO make up more than one-third of all Intel processor sales.

Steve Dallman, Intel’s director of distribution and channel marketing, was one of the key architects of the RCO. He said that the consistency of the program gave it staying power.

“Well let’s see it’s been 26 years with Intel for me,” Dallman said. “This RCO when it kicked off started of bring to the channel Intel Architecture products and packaging that was specifically for the channel. More importantly Intel started taking product downstream to product dealers and we were never concerned about touching those thousands of customers before and now we have 40,000 in the program and 10,000 plus that buy through our authorized channel so it has been a good role model (for the rest of the industry).”

Dallman added that one of the key aspects of the program was releasing products to distribution before release date greatly improved the time to market for resellers.

The RSO today can boast more than 1,000 distributor locations, 160,000 channel members in 112 countries. Just last year, Intel’s RSO added 25,000 new dealers and opened offices in Peru, Lebanon, Mongolia, Costa Rica, Romania, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

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