Resellers and whitebox makers must sell more mobile devices, specialised machines and services to grow, according to Intel’s channel manager.
Thomas Tapsas made the remarks during the launch of Intel’s new Core i3, i5 and i7 processors in Sydney’s Ivy Bar on January 21. While whitebox providers were not shrinking, they were failing to grow in line with other groups, he said.
“Whitebox makers to me signify a company of the past,” Tapsas said. “If you’re building a beige box or whitebox, you’re in trouble…you look at the market and growth is driven by mobiles, and you’ve got a whole bunch of resellers used to building PCs.
“Business has stayed pretty steady, however the overall market has grown and the growth is in mobility. People who are building PCs are still building PCs, but half of what they’re selling is mobiles.
“We have a market that has moved, so if customisation was your competitive points, well it’s pretty hard to customise a notebook. You have to add services.”
Tapsas said the other path available to resellers was to offer highly customised desktops aimed at very niche markets.
“If you look at some companies that are doing well in gaming, such as Altech or Scorpion Technology, they all build their own systems but they do high-end gaming machines with an average sell price in the thousands of dollars,” he said. “The desktop market has gone into different segments and niches. You have to fit with a customer’s needs.”
While Tapsas doesn’t expect the market to rocket ahead at pre-global financial crisis levels this year, he said it was on the road to recovery. To help capitalise on opportunities, Intel is investing in more channel resources.
“I’m investing in a study with a key group of resellers that go to market selling mobile devices and desktops trying to understand how to support their business in the future,” Tapsas said. “I’ve just employed someone in Melbourne for the channel, so we’re investing.”
Tapsas was adamant channel players still had a strong advantage up their sleeves, and said he would use the reseller research over the upcoming year to tailor future strategies.
“Every time we get new technology, the channel is the first to market with the products. When you’re first to market, you can sell more. The key advantage the channel has over the larger guys is speed. The key example is Core i7 – the channel has led that market because they’ve had it on the shelf,” Tapsas said.