Chip king Intel is branching into cyberspace with ambitious plans to become a major provider for Web hosting, storage and Internet content and services, a spokesman said recently.
To power the plan, Intel will build "bit factories" worldwide, each comprised of thousands of servers that will allow customers to outsource their Web and e-commerce activities, said Intel spokesman Adam Grossberg.
The vendor will also partner with telcos and ISPs to make the physical connections, he added.
Intel will have three server facilities online in the US within the next few months, while international facilities are expected to open by year's end and early next year. Each server farm will cost about $US50 million. "We're really looking to providing customers with an end-to-end commerce solution," Grossberg said. In addition, Intel will offer services to help organisations build content-rich Web sites through consulting, engineering and program management, he added.
However, one expert was cautiously optimistic about Intel's chances for success in this new market. "Intel's certainly got the technology credentials, and they've proven the ability to market the hell out of themselves,'' said Harry Fenik, an analyst at Zona Research. "But this area is very far afield from their core business."
The question, according to Fenik, is "if the Intel brand can bring the comfort and security needed to customers for them to put their lives in Intel's hands".