Intel's Maurits Tichelman says the PC is far from dead and solution providers shouldn't believe the doomsday forecasts.
Tichelman, vice president and general manager of the worldwide reseller channel at Intel, told an audience of elite channel partners at this week's Intel Solutions Summit in Las Vegas that some PC segments will see 20 percent growth this year. He also said Intel was relying on channel partners to sell one-third of the 40 million Intel-powered tablets it expects to sell in 2014.
"We continue to hear about the death of the PC. But as Intel refreshes its K series SKUs, we expect 20 percent growth in the high-performance segments on the client side," Tichelman said. Ninety-five percent of these content-creation, media, enthusiast and gaming PCs were expected to be sold through the channel, he added.
"So when people talk about the death of the desktop, it is not happening as far as we can see," Tichelman told attendees. He added that 40 percent of the desktops powered by Intel processors are sold through the channel and new innovations and form factors such all-in-ones, two-in-ones and NUC, Intel’s small-footprint PC, are key sales drivers.
But Intel's biggest bet on the channel in 2014 is relying on partners to sell tablets, a market Tichelman said is rich with untapped profits. "We have a big, audacious goal of selling 40 million tablets this year. One-third of those tablet sales will be through the channel," he said.
Intel's smartphone and tablet division, which reported a $929 million operating loss for its first quarter, shipped 5 million tablet processors in the same time period. Intel, Santa Clara., Calif., was on track to meet its 40 million unit goal, according to Tichelman. Market-research firm Gartner forecasts 270 million tablets will be sold in 2014.
"Intel wants to make sure the channel is ready for tablets. Last year, we admit we were late to the party. Far too late," Tichelman said. "But this year we are saying we are committed and going to catch up. Second quarter last year we had three tablets available from three of the ODMs. Now we are in the game. At the end of last year we had more than 64 tablet designs supporting both Windows and Android."
One Intel Solutions Summit attendee said he was skeptical his company's customers would buy any tablets -- let alone Intel tablets -- at the pace Tichelman hoped.
"Our customers just aren't buying tablets," said Troy Spengler, president of The Computer Store, a Minot, N.D.-based Intel Platinum partner. "Even if there was demand, the margins aren't there for us to put a lot of sales focus on them."
NEXT: Intel Partners 'Outperformed The Larger Market'