Intel faced channel struggle with ARM challenge
Vendor says Ultrabooks to lead channel fight back
Intel has acknowledged that it was on the ropes in the face of the challenge from ARM processors for mobile devices and tablets, which were innovating away from the use of its traditional x86-architecture.
At the Intel Platinum Summit in London, Gregory Pearson, general manager for Global Sales, said Intel was worried about the popularity of ARM-based mobile devices in 2011 and admitted there was a worry about ‘losing momentum'.
"Design team after design team was moving to ARM devices and we had to change," Pearson said. The challenge was felt throughout the channel."
Delivering a keynote address to the Platinum member audience, Pearson said: "You doubted because you started to see alternative form factors sizing up against the PC. Intel had to make the PC as ‘sexy and innovative' as some of the devices that were out there, as this was threatening the company's business and its channel."
Pearson said now it is through Ultrabooks that Intel will allow its channel partners to address the move to mobile computing and fight back against the popularity of devices based on ARM designs, particularly after the Ivy Bridge launch.
With this in mind, Intel is gearing to unveil its Ultrabook advertising campaign with full force as the Ivy Bridge chip devices approach launch.
Pearson added that the marketing campaign will be the biggest in a ‘long long time'.
"We are going to hit this really hard," he said, in order to create the demand the channel expects.
Although last year Intel started off with some difficulties with ramping production of its Sandy Bridge chip, it was generally a positive year for the company and its channel, Pearson said.
Intel's SSD business was one area which received praise in the channel.
According to Pearson, Intel was able to grow its SSD business with a large and growing presence in the channel globally and in partner in the emerging markets of the EMEA region.
He explained that the reason for this success was because the channel was able to add value through innovation to sales of SSDs, taking this technology into different applications.
"In particular channel partners are not treating SSDs as ‘just another drive' and this is paying off with greater value added," he said, adding that the SDD offerings grew Intel's business 75% in the channel. "I believe we have the best programme for the partners and the best products for the whole channel," Pearons said.