Intel, Seneca Data Launch Authorized Integrator Program


The Intel Authorized Integrator program, launched in May as a pilot program with Syracuse, N.Y.-based Seneca Data chosen as the first official member, gives resellers access to Intel-vetted builders of custom systems that are generally unavailable from the leading OEMs and often economically impractical for smaller shops to build themselves, said Steve Maser, VP of marketing at Seneca Data.

"We're excited," said Maser. "This is aimed at your typical customer that may only build five to 10 machines a month. We've been telling those sorts of people for years that they're not getting the necessary economies of scale doing it all themselves, so now we're in a better position through this program to say, 'Hey, why not let us do it?'"

Resellers buying from an Intel Authorized Integrator receive a product purchase credit that had previously been limited to purchases of components and integrated systems through authorized distributors. The extension of the program to premier-level system builders in the Intel Channel Partner Program will go through a short pilot phase before Intel figures out the next step in the second half of this year, said Eric Thompson, director of North American channel sales at Intel.

"We have feedback from many of our system builder channel partners that there are times where it makes more sense for them to purchase a custom configured system rather than build it themselves," Thompson said. "The Authorized Integrator program is designed to support our system builder channel partners of all sizes with more options from their peers when needing to source a fully-configured custom system to meet their end customer requirements."

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The pilot program was kicked off at late May's Portland, Ore. edition of the Intel Channel Conference (ICC). Intel and Seneca Data were set to take the show on the road at ICC events in some 30 U.S. cities through June 19, Maser said.

But as pleased as Maser and Seneca Data have been about the Authorized Integrator program as a whole, one of the first new products associated with the new initiative hit a snag going into June.

Intel announced a delay in late May to the planned launch of its next-generation notebook platform, codenamed Montevina. Due to a technical issue with the chipset and separate certification snags with the basic Wi-Fi chip included in the newly-branded Centrino 2 mobile platform, Intel will be pushing back its launch from late June to a partial launch in mid-July and full launch in early August.

What that means for Intel whitebook partners like Seneca Data is that the new Rich Creek 2 whitebook platform, part of the overall Montevina launch, will also be delayed. Not that Maser is too put out by a few weeks' holdup.

"Rich Creek 2 is coming along. It's been delayed a little bit, for some quality improvements. I've seen samples of both the 14- and 15-inch versions. The new form factors are appealing to the eye and my engineers have played with the sample boards, and they're top notch," he said.

"Put it this way -- we're more excited than we were six weeks ago when we said we'd be carrying it."