Intel Launches Xeon-focused SMB Program

Seeing an opportunity in the small and medium business sector, Intel
Monday launched a new program to help educate customers
on how to select a server system with its Xeon processors.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company said it will work with
distributors, dealers, system builders, original equipment manufacturers,
and other partners on its “real server campaign.” The idea its to offer
technical and marketing assistance to reach the SMB market, which seems to
be spending more per capita on IT than larger corporations.

The No. 1 chipmaker did not specifically identify which partners it would
work with. But major server players, IBM , Dell Computer
and Hewlett-Packard are sure bets.

Even Sun Microsystems is expected to get into the
picture, now that the company has launched
new low-cost Sun Fire systems.

Program training for system builders includes technical information,
hardware samples, white papers, product briefs, advertising templates,
collateral material, marketing training and a pricing rebate schedule.

Intel said emerging computer markets around the world, such as China,
India, Brazil, Mexico and Russia, will receive special focus.

A recent study by International Data Corporation (IDC) found that despite
a generally slow global economic environment in 2002, the small and medium
business (SMB) market in Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) grew 4.1 per cent in
IT spending.

“Research shows only a minority of small businesses, especially in
emerging markets, have the necessary server systems to operate efficiently,”
Intel Reseller Products Group general manager Willy Agatstein said in a
statement. “Many others are making do with desktop computers that were
designed as single-user PCs, or outmoded proprietary systems. Our goal is to
provide training and resources to the system builders who serve these
customers so that more small businesses can manage their computing
infrastructure efficiently.”

The campaign is also designed to draw attention away from rival AMD
and its new line of
Opteron chips. Analysts have compared the 64-bit capable, 32-bit backwards compatible Opteron with
Intel’s Xeon because it is an x86 structure as opposed to the Itanium and
its EPIC architecture.

“AMD is trying to wedge itself between Xeon and Itanium platforms with a
better future path of growth,” said InStat/MDR analyst Kevin Krewell. “When
there is a backwards compatibility you minimize the risk.”

In addition to marketing its Xeon chips, Intel said it will also try to
convince small to medium-sized business customers that high-bandwidth
connections, high-capacity storage, redundant components and a server
operating system with multi-user applications are also valuable.

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