Intel tackles AMD threat by increasing its help to ISV community

Intel Corp. has expanded its ISV support program as it continues efforts to distance itself from the fierce competition coming from rival chipmaker AMD.

The Intel Software Partner Program (ISPP) replaces the Early Access Program for software developers, which was centered around technical information on the company’s chipsets and microprocessors.

The ISPP adds to those offerings online marketing information and sales advice, particularly tailored for segments where Intel believes ISVs can twig software to its technologies. The initial ones are PC manageability, collaboration and gaming applications. Digital media creation will be added next month.

“In a competitive environment it’s a way to stay on the cutting edge,” said Elliot Garbus, general manager of Intel’s developer relations division. Some 2,300 developers signed up under the EAP and will be transferred to the new program, which Intel hopes to grow to 5,000. There are an estimated 80 Canadian EAP members.

In addition to the online information, “coming soon” is an electronic marketplace to help ISVs market and sell their applications, he said.

“Before we had a program that was strictly oriented towards our technology,” Garbus said. “Now we’re providing business context and the capability to help take (ISV) product to market.”

He acknowledged the goal is to get developers to build software around Intel’s platform and features, such as the recently-introduced VPro, a set of capabilities that allows administrators to remotely control out-of-band desktops running certain Intel CPUs.

“I think it’s a good move,” said Jason Frick, president of Frick Software, an Ottawa mobile applications ISV and a member of the Early Access Program.

“They’re offering a lot of the same thing, (but) packaging it a lot nicer.

However, he’s skeptical of the value of the Channel Marketplace. “Any exposure is good exposure,” he said, but he noted many software companies, including Microsoft, offer similar ways for VARs to promote their applications. “It depends how Intel markets it,” he said.

The ISPP is a way of combating AMD, which as been eating into Intel’s market share for the past 12 months. Recruiting ISPP members is high enough on Intel’s priorities that it has dedicated staff to convince ISVs to join.

While AMD has its own software developer program the company acknowledges it has a different strategy. “Intel builds platforms, we don’t,” said Margaret Lewis, AMD‘s director for corporate solutions. So it focuses on making sure its CPUs are compatible with the applications of some 80 software companies such as Microsoft, SAP, Oracle, Novell and Sun Microsystems. Most of these companies have their own ISV programs, she said, which is how AMD reaches them.

So this week, she said, AMD is presenting at OracleWorld in San Francisco. Last week it presented at a big IBM conference in the U.S.

There is no charge for joining the Intel’s Software Partner Program. However, it is targeted at software companies rather than individual developers. The company says they should join Intel’s Software Network, which is aimed at developers (and actually provides the technical content of the ISPP).

The ISPP has three segments, Garbus said: A planning component gives ISVs information about Intel’s core technologies so they can create strategies to take advantage of the chipmaker’s capabilities; a development component which has detailed engineering information; and the marketing component, which has professionally-created Intel-branded collateral and market research that ISVs can use when selling their applications.

Online tools will include business acumen training, roadmaps of Intel technologies, application engineering services, developer resource kits and participation in channel events.

Members get to use a logo indentifying themselves an an Intel Software Partner. The online marketplace has already been piloted in Taiwan, Thailand, Russia and Ukraine.


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