Naturally, chip giant Intel is one of Microsoft's premier launch partners. With the development of its P4 chipset so closely related to the development of Windows XP, a lot is also at stake for Intel. Both P4 and XP have been optimised for each other and this fraternal link is extended deeply into the marketing.
According to Phil Cronin, Intel's area channel sales manager, the vendor is closely involved in the Microsoft Insight tour. Additionally, for the first time ever, Microsoft has reciprocated the deal by joining Intel's equivalent.
"We took a spot on Microsoft's [PC Builders] show because of the synergies between P4 and XP and managed to show off the advantages of using our hardware and MS software," Cronin says. "That was received by over 1300 PC builders and software consultants from the local PC channel at venues across Australia and New Zealand.
"Our roadshow, which we call the Intel Channel Conference, is taking place now and for the first time Microsoft has taken a spot on our show to espouse the virtues of XP in the local PC builder channel."
Intel is hitting the market with two offerings: the P4 1.7GHz CPU and upwards running on the 850 motherboard with XP and the same processor on an 845 motherboard. Cronin says its distributors -- Synnex, Tech Pacific and Todaytech -- will have full white-box bundles available at launch.
"We are primarily looking at the platform side; the CPU and the motherboard," he says. "We will have a performance offering and a value offering and will be pushing them strongly. This will allow assemblers to run two SKUs of XP-loaded product."
The difference between the two offerings from Intel is in the cost of the Rambus DRAM (850 motherboard) versus the SDRAM (845). The software, CPU and motherboard are the same. The memory is what drives XP's performance.
XP's launch also represents the first time Microsoft and Intel have engaged in a co-branded channel marketing exercise using the Intel Inside logo and the Microsoft XP logo.
"It is the first time ever that you will see advertising that carries both endorsements," Cronin says. "We are both providing marketing funds so that it will be seen in the advertising of companies that are building P4/XP-based systems and advertising them.
"It enables them to market their own products that have been built through the XP/P4 bundles. They get the advantage of using the two logos in advertising and refunds based on that spend.
"That is a big thing for Microsoft, the channel and Intel."