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AMD Goes Commercial

Posted by iMark - 2005-10-22

Advanced Micro Devices is for the first time supporting VARs and integrators with a dedicated channel program, as the microprocessor maker works to deepen its penetration into the commercial market.

An addition to the company’s traditional system builder effort, the new three-tier AMD Commercial Channel Access Program launched this week will provide VARs and integrators with technical support, dedicated channel managers, promotion of joint AMD-partner solutions and seed units.

Executives declined to reveal AMD’s financial investment in the program. Four channel managers currently support the program. AMD executives said they expect to increase head count to eight or 10 by the middle of next year.

AMD hopes small- and midsize-business solution providers will enable it to triple its worldwide commercial market share to 30 percent by 2009.

Greg Starr, president of solution provider See-Comm, of New Boston, Texas, said the new channel program could give AMD an edge. “This will help resellers lead in with AMD systems,” he said.

See-Comm was a system builder before moving exclusively to branded systems about four years ago. Starr, who works closely with Hewlett-Packard and IBM, said he has had little contact with chip makers since making the switch. “What reason [would we have] to care about the kind of processor that’s in the machine?” he said.

Michael O’Brien, director of worldwide commercial channels for AMD, Sunnyvale, Calif., will administer the program. He moved to AMD from Sun Microsystems about six months ago and reports to Kevin Knox and Ben Williams, both vice presidents of AMD’s commercial business.

O’Brien said the program will avoid the kind of incentives tier-one OEMs offer partners, such as market development funds. Instead, AMD is gearing the program toward collaboration on the development of solutions to solve customer pain points.

AMD has been working with several VARs to pilot such solutions, particularly ones that focus on areas in which its processors excel, such as virtualization technologies and high-performance computing. AMD said it has been working with EDS on a grid computing offering and also has relationships with CDW, Ciber, Forsythe and En Pointe Technologies.

AMD made an early bet on solution provider Amherst Technologies, of Manchester, N.H.—funding a virtualization pilot for Amherst’s own use. At press time, Amherst was expected to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation by this week.

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