Among other initiatives, Dell will open "application solution centers" in America and Europe to help customers and software companies move applications to the Intel platform.
Intel will lend engineering support to the centers in order to help new software run as fast as possible on both upcoming 32-bit and 64-bit processors. These include the first generation of the Xeon chips (updated versions of the Pentium II desktop chips that will arrive in the third quarter of this year) and Merced (Intel's first 64-bit processor for servers and workstations, slated to appear in 1999).
But Intel has also partnered with other PC vendors in opening up software centers, a company representative said. So this aspect of the relationship is not exclusive to Dell.
Dell will also focus on selling Intel-based servers for use by Internet service providers and in e-commerce settings as a part of the joint efforts.
While Dell has been successful selling PC servers and workstations directly to customers, its business model makes it difficult to address the needs of corporate buyers that often seek consulting and technical services. The software centers are one example of moves the company has made to address the needs of corporate customers currently served by the likes of IBM, Sun Microsystems, and Hewlett-Packard with mainframe-class computers.
In March, Dell announced it would employ Wang's consulting and service operations to boost its server computer sales to federal agencies, as part of an effort to beef up its service and support. Dell engaged Wang to provide customers with a level of service comparable to what they would receive from a value-added reseller, or VAR.