School's In Session For AOpen, Synnex

The San Jose, Calif.-based supplier of barebones systems and components to the custom-build market wants to combine its manufacturing capabilities with Fremont, Calif.-based Synnex's distribution base to tackle the opportunities now available in educational institutions, said Rick Haddad, AOpen's national sales manager.

"With budgets being cut at the school level, we feel there's a need for another player other than Dell and HP," Haddad said.

Under the PC Population Program, AOpen will supply three new barebones systems to Synnex that will include a motherboard, keyboard, mouse, speakers, 17-inch CRT monitor and choice of midtower, black midtower or slim chassis. Synnex will provide a choice of processor, memory, hard disk and optical storage to the solution provider, which will do the final integration.

The systems can be sold to schools for about $40 to $50 less than comparable HP or Dell systems, said Haddad.

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Ron Sakurai, associate vice president of component product management at Synnex, estimated that with a 2.4GHz Celeron processor, 256 Mbytes of memory, a 40-Gbyte hard drive and Windows XP Home, the system should cost the solution provider less than $500.

For orders of a "couple hundred" systems, Synnex will also provide integration services to solution providers, said Sakurai.

AOpen field reps and Synnex sales reps will be available to help solution providers with joint sales calls, Sakurai said.

AOpen is also offering a full range of support to custom-system builders looking to tackle the demands of the education market, said Haddad. Among these are an express replacement program under which the solution provider can send a problem system to Synnex for instant replacement, he said. Synnex will also keep enough stock of components in its nine U.S.-based distribution facilities to offer 24-hour turnaround on orders.

Even so, said Haddad, the key to the program's success will be the fact that schools will get local service from solution providers, which can contact Synnex and AOpen for immediate technical help. "We offer service, support and a total solution as the most cost-effective way for solution providers to work with local school districts," he said.