Pat Gelsinger, senior vice president and general manager of the Digital Enterprise Group at Intel, has been with the Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip giant since 1979. He discussed Intel's relationship and involvement with Apple, Microsoft, Bill Gates, Xen, Windows Vista and system builders, among a range of other topics, in an interview with CRN Senior Writer Paula Rooney at the fall Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco.
CRN: Aside from AMD, what keeps you up at night?
GELSINGER: Our execution. Do we have the right product strategy, and are we executing effectively?
And beyond that, well, there are lots of things that keep me up at night. Are we satisfying customers? We have OEMs, tier-two [OEMs] and channel customers. Are we really understanding what they need, and are we delivering against it?
CRN: Over the last year, how has Intel fared in working with the channel?
GELSINGER: Given our supply situation and product situation, we didn't have a good year with the channel in 2005. And over the last couple of quarters, the channel has seen a much, much better relationship with Intel. We've seen more market-share growth and are giving them products and getting them supply. All of those things [give partners] an overall good feeling and attitude toward Intel in the channel right now.
CRN: How important is the channel to Intel, vis-a-vis OEMs? What's the current ratio of business split between OEMs and system builders? Does the channel represent more than 50 percent?
GELSINGER: I don't know that we'd give out the ratio, but the portion of our business that's in the channel is substantial. Everyone on our executive branch knows that. The channel is not more than 50 percent [of our business], but it's a substantial force. We take it pretty seriously. It's an important piece of Intel.
GELSINGER: The channel tends to be a good complement to our OEM relationships. A few years ago, say 10 years ago, our channel was extremely important to us when we went to a new country like China. It's a great way for us to move into a marketplace, and we're using it effectively -- specifically to move into new market segments and, sometimes, for introducing new products. Another example is small business. OEMs have never done a good job of satisfying small businesses, which need local touch and support. So the channel complements our OEM and big business and retail focus. It's a symbiotic relationship.
CRN: Microsoft says SMB is the fastest-growing market. What do you say?
GELSINGER: We'd say emerging markets. Everyone refers to the "Mr. BRIC" countries: Mexico, Russia, Brazil, India, China. We're seeing second-tier emerging countries like Thailand and other Asian countries, and there's some growth in the Middle East, Turkey and clearly the Eastern bloc countries beyond Russia.
CRN: So Intel's growth is more geographically driven than segment-driven at the moment?
GELSINGER: Yes. But beyond that, the SMB [market] has more strength in it than the enterprise or government [segments].
NEXT: Intel's relationship with Apple and Bill Gates.