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Intel’s Gelsinger: AMD’s Lead ‘Over’ With New Alder Lake, Sapphire Rapids CPUs

In an exclusive interview with CRN, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger talks about how the upcoming Alder Lake and Sapphire Rapids CPUs will put the heat on AMD, his view of Arm’s emergence in the data center and the importance of channel partners to Intel’s future.

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Jon Kalvin (pictured), Intel’s global channel chief, told me that you have tasked him with accelerating the growth of Intel’s partner ecosystem as part of Intel Partner Alliance. Was Intel’s partner roster not growing fast enough? And why does Intel’s partner ecosystem need to be growing faster?

I’d say overall, as I came back to the company, I was dismayed a bit that we simply had lost that lean-forward mentality and that we’re going to be delivering leadership products, we’re going to be defining categories, we’re going to be creating new standards and interfaces. So all that’s leaning forward in an effort generally described as, “We’re ready to get the mojo back,” in that respect.

And if we’re going to do that, we have to grow the partners. Some of those as you say will be [independent software providers]. Some of those will be SaaS providers as well. Some of those will be — by the way, many of those skills need to become part of our channel partners’ repertoires as well, as they increase their cloud and SaaS capabilities and their software capabilities, but the bulk of our business needs to continue to be how do we continue to open new hardware, hardware-software solutions through and with our channel partners. So in that sense, I think we had just become way too complacent, and we will set a more aggressive tone in terms of the activities, having more partners, supporting those partners and laying out some more innovation agendas together with them.

Intel Partner Alliance launched in January as the company’s new partner program, which consolidated multiple programs under one umbrella. In your view, how has Intel Partner Alliance been in terms of servicing the needs of partners?

Well, to be very honest with you, I haven’t gotten any good metrics yet. So with [Chief Revenue Officer] Michelle Johnston Holthaus and the partner programs underneath her, this is one of the things we have teed up for one of our next reviews with her, because I haven’t seen [the metrics] yet. Are we hitting the numbers that we thought that we would? What kind of satisfaction scores are we getting through it? I’m a data guy and a very transparent one at that. If I don’t have the data, I can’t give you a good answer.

But as they took me through the program as they launched — obviously I started in February, they gave me a short brief on it, it was already launched before I got here — it felt right in that sense. So I think they’re doing the right things in that regard, and now we’ll see if we’re going fast enough and getting good enough results or we have to tweak it a bit or put more energy behind it.

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