ViewSonic Enters the PC Market

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Computer monitor and display vendor ViewSonic has spruced up its channel partner program, the Finch Club, in preparation to enter the PC market with a line of all-in-one PCs and a detachable “nettop” PC. The move comes during a deep recession when PC leaders HP, Dell, Acer and Lenovo are struggling with declining sales.

Computer monitor and display vendor ViewSonic has spruced up its channel partner program in preparation for a new line of products it plans to launch in April.

The 100-percent channel company tells Channel Insider that it will launch a new line of all-in-one PCs in April – a 19-inch monitor with a built in Intel Atom processor starting at $599 (£418).

“It’s a well-positioned product for knowledge workers that need desk space,” says Jeff Volpe, vice president and general manager of ViewSonic North America. “There’s no need for a tower behind the desk. There’s less power consumption. It does everything that our standard office machine does in one simple package.”

Volpe says that ViewSonic believes customers will find the all-in-one PC at $599 (£418) to be “quite a value proposition” compared to other entries in the space.

In addition, ViewSonic is preparing a “nettop” entry that goes after the same market space, but is a box that is 6 inches by 6 inches by 2 inches thick that attaches to a monitor. ViewSonic has yet to set the pricing for this box, but says it also will be delivered in April.

ViewSonic is making these moves to expand into the PC space at a time when most PC makers are experiencing sales declines, and analysts are forecasting a bleak 2009 for PC sales.

“This is a very interesting time in our business,” says Volpe. “It’s going to be a very challenging year for the PC business. But there is an equal amount of opportunity for companies to take advantage of this difficult time and be winners. That’s where ViewSonic says we are going to seize the day and opportunities that lower cost processing have brought.

“It’s an opportunity to own more products attached to the display than ever before,” Volpe concludes. “I don’t need to sell a million PCs to make this a win for our partners and ViewSonic. One unit is more than we’ve ever sold before.”

To get channel partners ready for the new product line, ViewSonic is re-launching its channel program and renaming it Finch Club. The program offers a better Web portal for partners that includes more streamlined access to resources such as promotional deals, incentive programs and sales tools such as sell sheets and white papers. Also available are ongoing training programs, according to the company.

Members of the Finch club have access to demo programs, evaluation units, Webinars, contests and ViewSonic “buddy” calls where the company’s internal reps participate in sales calls with channel partners. ViewSonic has also launched a new government education program called GovEd that offers specialised training and discounts to channel partners that sell to the public sector.

ViewSonic is also offering channel partners higher quality leads, says Melinda Beecher, senior manager of channel marketing in North America. That’s because the company has dedicated someone within ViewSonic to “scrub” the leads.

As part of the program, ViewSonic is also offering Webinars on its new line of products, the first of which are scheduled for 17th and 18th February.