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Intel directs channel funds to small biz market

Reaches out to little resellers

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Intel today opened out its channel organisation to small computer dealers. Called the Intel Reseller Programme, this new entry-level accreditation even has some co-op marketing funds at its disposal, we think -the company's alloted press spokesperson is not speaking to the press today.

Intel is keen to attract resellers serving the small and medium-business market, a fast-growing segment so far as IT spend is concerned, but expensive to address. Historically, Intel and other big IT product vendors deal directly with the biggest resellers and system builders only. The rest are handled through distribution, which soaks up the vendor marketing funds. This is nice for the disties, but in mature markets, it is an inefficient way of stimulating end-user demand. More Intel money for the little resellers means, we guess, less money for the disties. Of course, co-op funds are predicated on processor sales - through official outlets. And this will lessen the relevance to manyt of Intel's reach-out to the little dealers.

With loose-to-non-existent ties between the resellers and small system builders and their vendors, the temptation to buy product at cheaper prices on the spot market can be overwhelming. Is access to some co-op money, marketing collateral, roadmaps and the odd technical spec be enough to tempt small trade buyers back into the distie fold?

Probably not. But Intel is at least placing its marker in the ground. As well as this small carrot, the company could wield a big stick, by cutting off the spot market air supply. This would mean tighter control of sales into the big OEMs - the major source of supply for the CPU spot market. The downside is that it risks losing market share to AMD, if its rival continues to maintain looser distribution lines. Of course, Intel could always lessen the price spread on processors paid by the biggest buyers and the occasional distie. This would level the playing field, but officially.

Ringtone Inside

Intel today also announced that an expansion of Intel Inside co-op funds to "new and emerging advertising mediums". Resellers can slap on the venerable logo for use with billboard, Web, transit, cinema and direct mail, greased by Intel co-op.

But what about mobile phone ringtones? We once suggested to Chipzilla - the conversation did not get as far as asking for permission - to distribute the Intel Inside music ident as a ringtone from our website. We were gently rebuffed - There's got to be an Intel processor inside the machine, see. Ringtones would undermine the Intel Inside brand values, we were told. Nothing to do with the Reg, then? So what if we work out a way of ensure that ringtones will work only on Xscale devices, as opposed to all the other ARM phones out there. Yes, it's silly and pointless, and probably difficult. But where there's an Intel co-op fund, there's a way. ®

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