Probably the largest Victorian Government IT tender of the year - a spend of about $35 million by the Department of Education and Training (DE&T) - is looking like being a big win for Intel and its OEM channel.
Although DE&T is remaining tight-lipped about the final specification it will settle on, ARN sources indicate that the desktop portion of the tender will "almost certainly" be based on the Intel 865 chipset.
Whether the contract is awarded to an international brand or a local OEM was not so clear according to the source but it appears as though it is "most likely to be a combination" of the two.
"DE&T is very sensitive to criticism of previous tenders that were awarded entirely to interstate-based, overseas-owned companies," the source said. "It is expected that at least some of the business - possibly all of the desktop business - will go to a local OEM assembler building Intel-based systems."
A spokesperson speaking on behalf of DE&T contract manager, Stewart van Langenberg, would neither confirm nor deny any of these claims.
Australian managing director of Intel rival AMD, John Robinson, was reluctant to comment at this "most sensitive time of the contract".
Robinson did reaffirm though that his company had "a range of XP devices that will compete more than favourably" based on the specifications DE&T asked for.
He also said that he understood that solutions through the AMD channel were "not out of the running" for all or part of the business at this stage. However, ARN's source insists that the desktop component is fait accompli.
"It will be an Intel 865 chipset-based product with the Hyperthreading technology that wins the tender," the source said. "Intel has a very good relationship with DE&T. All of Intel's local OEM and international brand name partners have access to this Hyperthreading platform so it could still go to any one of those suppliers."
For this tender (No: 02/03-37), DE&T is sourcing 4150 desktop PCs, 1680 servers and 1700 laser printers as well as 1660 UPSs, 1660 LAN switches and a swag of other associated products and services.
Industry sources estimate that the spend will be in the vicinity of $30-35 million. It is understood that more than 25 companies responded to supply all or part of the tender.
For more on this story, see this week's ARN.