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Intel's New 'Business Exchange' Targets SMBs

Intel today launched a program for the SMB market designed to sell not just bare metal but the software on top of it. Dubbed the Intel Business Exchange (BX), it brings a number of software and services vendors together to offer complete solutions, not just hardware.

As part of the program, Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) has launched a support Web site with more information for customers, and listing its software partners. These partners include Microsoft, AMI, Doculex, Everest, Fonality, Open-E, salesforce.com, Symantec and Tripwire.

Intel claims the program is no threat to Value-added resellers (VARs). On the contrary, the chip giant said BX is meant to help resellers offer customers the complete solution, instead of the VAR, integrator or services company cobbling together the hardware, software and services from multiple vendors for the customer.

"Intel is moving forward with bets around software," Peter Elmgren, managing director at Intel for BX told InternetNews.com. "This is meant to be an online destination to discover innovative business solutions on Intel's platforms and help them make informed purchasing decisions and quote requests."

The site will provide research on products and services, allow potential customers to request quotes and connect them with solution providers to speed the identification, selection and implementation of the technology they need to run their businesses.

Intel's first partner will be AllBusiness.com, an online media and e-commerce company that was purchased by Dun & Bradstreet last year. The site has launched AllBusiness Exchange, a stand-alone solutions marketplace powered by Intel Business Exchange.

"We have more than 4 million monthly visitors who are actively searching for solutions to their business needs, with many of them focused on technology issues," said Kathy Yates, CEO of AllBusiness.com in a statement. "AllBusiness.com's 'how-to' information and Intel Business Exchange solutions and providers is a powerful combination of resources available for this valuable audience."

The BX project is aimed at SMBs but has upward mobility, said Elmgren. "We feel that right now the SMB community is looking more for these types of overall solutions that we've provided on the site, which will have the ability to migrate upstream to the enterprise," he said.

IDC analyst Richard Shim said that this is the direction computing is going in. "It's a statement that it's less about the hardware and more about the complete solution, that it's more about software, and it's aimed at an audience that doesn't have a lot of time to invest in things that are important like security and manageability," Shim told InternetNews.com. "This could be a big deal for all types of solution providers going forward because it's a focus on something that's been unaddressed."