Intel's Otellini Bullish On The Channel, System Builders Say

"He said, 'We're seeing that you continue to be 40 percent of what we do,'" said Joe Kollee, president of Niagara Electronics, a Niagara Falls, Ontario-based system builder and Intel Premier Provider.

Otellini's meeting with partners on Friday at Intel's annual channel conference came just weeks before the chip giant's planned launch of dual-core processors and three months after a reorganization that created a new Channel Platforms Group.

Kollee and other system builders said Otellini, slated to become Intel CEO in May, reminded the group that a year ago they asked for Intel's help in easing the supply chain, configurability and availability of whitebook components and that the company saw system builders play a much bigger role in the launch of its next-generation Centrino mobile line in January than during the initial product rollout in 2003. Otellini suggested the company could do the same as it rolls out digital home technologies.

"He spoke passionately about the channel and that [Intel is] very dedicated to making sure the channel shows competitiveness," said Todd Swank, director of marketing at Nor-Tech, a Burnsville, Minn.-based system builder.

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"I'm excited," said Fred Schlaffer, president of B3, a Gwinn, Mich.-based system builder and solution provider. Among other things, Otellini assured the roughly 600 channel partners at the conference that Intel would have an adequate supply of its upcoming dual-core desktop processors when they launch in the second quarter, according to Schlaffer. "He said there was a commitment to get product on the shelves," he said.

Earlier in the conference, other Intel executives outlined a series of new company initiatives, including a simplification of the Intel Inside program for the channel; a new, separate program for the company's Digital Home strategy; and benefits of the upcoming dual-core processors and supporting technologies, such as virtualization.