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Intel’s Inside program getting cut would hit us right in the wallet with a PC price hike

Intel HQ

Intel have been funding system builders indirectly for years – aiding in the marketing for builders and keeping prices down for the consumer. Sounds good for everyone (except AMD), right? Well, it might get cut.

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Through their Intel Inside partner program, they have been strengthening their own market position among OEMs, system builders, and PC owners. Those third-party builders get a heap of rewards – indirectly, monetary, or otherwise – to help them along, too.

Members of Intel’s Inside program have been reaping the benefits of the system for some time, with Intel lending a hand in ‘co-marketing funds’, ‘marketing activities’, and other cooperative business stuff. All the OEMs need to do in return is buy a certain number of Intel’s products and place the Intel logo on their products to reap the benefits.

A report from CRN suggests that Intel are planning on undergoing huge changes to this OEM/Intel co-venture program, with Intel supposedly cutting funding across the board. Intel’s proposed cuts are supposedly up to a whopping 60%, which may leave OEMs and enthusiast builders to largely fend for themselves, or possibly start striking deals with alternative primary colour branded competitors.

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“While we are evolving how we co-market with our OEM customers, the Intel Inside brand continues to be an important symbol of performance and quality,” an Intel spokesperson says in conversation with CRN. “The changes we are making are intended to help customers more efficiently and effectively market with Intel, while helping us market with more precision in alignment with Intel’s business priorities.”

It’s a strange time for Intel to ditch their ‘gold standard’ marketing model, considering 2017 was the first year in a decade that Intel have been under any kind of threat whatsoever, with AMD’s Ryzen processors arriving on the scene. It is especially a poor time for PC builders as prices are already sky-high from multiple fabrication issues for components.

It seems Intel are committed to their new vision of moving away from client-based computing and their ‘business priorities’ seemingly no longer lie with enthusiast gaming rigs. That’s because AMD aren’t Intel’s only competition, with Samsung quickly rising to the potential top-spot of semiconductor production in 2017, and Nvidia ushering in the end of the world as we know it with AI. Intel can potentially no longer justify the self-spending marketing budget in this segment.

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But this is not hugely surprising. Intel have been repositioning themselves since CEO Bryan Krzanich announced the company’s departure from client-based systems in 2016 to move into the expanding cloud-based data, memory, and Internet of Things markets. This move seems to be following Intel’s push into forward-thinking markets, and we may be seeing less involvement from Intel in the direct sales and marketing of their ‘Intel Inside’ brand throughout 2018 and beyond because of it.

With Intel possibly ditching the marketing brand, many OEMs and system builders may find themselves in a difficult position, which could lead to more bad news for gamers. These potential cuts may lead to yet another pricing mountain that gamers have to climb in 2018 and beyond – as if GPU, SSD, and memory pricing increases weren’t bad enough.