There’s still Value in the Channel, Intel MD says

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Semiconductor giant Intel remains at the centre of the IT business – one senior executive at the corporation quipped to us a few years back that “the sun never sets on the Intel empire”. That’s pretty much true. Intel has a global reach, is consistently profitable and with over 100,000 employees exercises very considerable influence on the entire global market.

Graham Palmer, MD of Intel UKSpeaking to ChannelBiz exclusively, Graham Palmer, managing director of Intel UK, took time to tell us the state of play in Britain and opportunities that are still there to be had. He believes that while there are challenging areas in the British economy, there’s still room for resellers to add value and there are still opportunities for growth.

Palmer said the UK reflects a general Western Europe trend and while consumer business is a large part of the market, it continues to be “challenging”. However, there are other strengths and opportunities for growth – he said the server market and the roll out of data centres are particular examples.

The reseller market, he said, has been “reasonably resilient” in a challenging market and there are areas of strength, such as the educational sector, contrary to expectations.

Palmer agreed that there is a general lack of confidence. “In the corporate sector, we’d like to see more enterprises investing in client [computers],” he said. But, he said, Vpro is continuing to get good acceptance in the market place, while the cloud build out is accelerating, with Intel seeing it as quite a compelling phenomenon.

However, many businesses are looking at their cash balances, and aren’t willing to spend enough on IT, because of a general lack of confidence. With companies sitting on their cash, that creates a challenge, with many not realizing that if they invest in better IT that, in itself, will deliver greater efficiencies and profitability, he said.

As far as the channel is concerned, Palmer believes that in the last few years the growth of etail is dramatic. A more subtle change is that Intel’s channel partners are focusing on being a more integrated community. There’s also a trend towards integrators becoming more hybrid, developing fresh skills.

Quite recently, Intel has totally re-jigged its channel programmes, creating the Intel Technology Provider Programme (ITPP).

Right now, Intel is pushing Ultrabooks for all that it’s worth, and there’s room for channel players there too, with original design manufacturers (ODMs) creating product that resellers can re-badge and re-brand, he said.

Intel still sees a huge market for highly integrated notebooks like the Ultrabook, and Palmer doesn’t think that will be challenged by the phenomenal growth of products like Apple’s iPad. Tablets and netbooks are companion products to notebooks, he believes. Intel is ready to respond to the shifting sands of both business and consumer markets, he said.

Intel’s fortunes are still quite tightly tied to Microsoft. Palmer thinks that the introduction of Windows 8 will give an overall boost to the market. Chips and the internet are not going away, and it’s safe to say that the Santa Clara company isn’t going away either, despite apparent threats from ARM and the exponential growth of tablets.

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