Intel Reaches Out To VARs

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip giant plans to make a multimillion investment in the initiative, called the Intel Technology Provider Program, and the company already has hired 15 business development managers to work with VARs, said Shirley Turner, Intel's director of distribution and channel marketing. The open-invitation program is slated to make its official debut in August, she said.

Turner said she expects 2,500 to 3,000 VARs to participate in the program in 2005, though that number could climb to as high as 5,000 by the end of the year. The initial set of solution provider invitees includes the 5,500 VARs that Intel inherited with its acquisition of Dialogic plus another 1,000 VARs with which Intel has existing relationships.

Initially, the program will focus on educating VARs about solutions around the digital home and converged communications, according to Turner. Intel later plans to expand the program to cover solutions aimed at education, government, professional services and financial services, she said.

The program comes after a four-year hiatus that saw Intel not communicate directly with VARs aligned with specific system manufacturers. Turner said the company is now trying to gain a view of the entire channel as part of an effort to accelerate the adoption of new solutions based on Intel-developed platforms.

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Ultimately, Intel wants to create an ecosystem by inviting ISVs to participate in the program, Turner said. That would mark a sharp shift in Intel's marketing strategy, in that the company sees it can't rely solely on system manufacturers to drive the adoption of new Intel technologies.