AI PCs ‘Here Now’ Say Intel, Omdia

As the AI PC market starts to take shape, MSPs and other channel partners start training programs.

Dave Raffo, MSP News Editor

April 29, 2024

3 Min Read
AI PC research
Pixels Hunter/Shutterstock

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger expects his company to beat its 40 million AI PC CPU target this year. That lends credence to a recent Omdia research report that declared “AI PCs are a reality and are here now.”

“We see a very strong AI PC outlook,” Gelsinger said on Intel’s latest earnings call.

According to Omdia’s AI PCs: An Emerging Device Class, Intel and rival chipmakers AMD and Qualcomm are competing mainly for business users and developers in the AI PC market while Nvidia has a lock on creative users and gamers.

The Omdia report’s authors, Alexander Harrowell and Lian Jye Su, refer to the business users as Corporate Warriors and developers as Power Geeks. They share a common need for great amounts of computer memory to effectively run AI applications, said Harrowell, Omdia’s principal analyst for advanced computing.

“The key consideration for me is whether you have eight gigabytes of VRAM available, and some kind of hardware acceleration,” he said.

Channel Preparing for AI PC, Microsoft Copilot

AI PCs are still a tiny part of the market, but channel partners are working with all the key players of AI PCs to prepare for an eventual spike in sales. Peter DiMarco, VP of commercial sales for D&H Distributing, said he already is seeing a lot of interest. D&H set up a Go Big AI Program to help the IT distributor’s partners monetize AI services. DiMarco – one of Channel Futures’ top distribution leaders for 2023 – said Microsoft Copilot is garnering much of the attention.

Related:AI-Capable PCs to Reinvigorate the PC Market

D&H Distributing's Peter DiMarco

“We're seeing activity on multiple fronts,” DiMarco said. “For the Intel, AMD and Qualcomm community of partners that work with us every day, there's lots of training and education that we're doing right now. In the VAR and SMB community, we're just starting to see quoting activity and interest activity in AI PCs. And there’s a ton of interest in Copilot. I was with a group of partners about two weeks ago and every one of them said, ‘Yeah, we're starting to get calls.’ It ranges from owners of small telemarketing firms that want to know how Copilot can help their 15 telesales reps, all the way up to larger midmarket companies where the CEO is saying to the IT leadership team, ‘We need to have an AI strategy; where do we get started?’ The place to get started is to become AI-ready with infrastructure and devices.”

Harrowell said Microsoft has “quite a few” ISVs working with it on Copilot, and is extending its feature set.

Microsoft's Alexander Harrowell

“Most of what Microsoft offers in Copilot are cloud-based features; they plug into an API. But they’re expecting to plug more workable features into the next preview release of Windows 11,” Harrowell said. “Although Microsoft has been having trouble making money over and above the compute costs, people are quite enthusiastic about these things. And so I think we'll probably see a lot of early adopters there.”

Related:Meet Channel Futures' Top 20 Distribution Leaders for 2023

About the Author(s)

Dave Raffo

MSP News Editor, Channel Futures

Dave Raffo has written about IT for more than two decades, focusing mainly on data storage, data center infrastructure and public cloud. He was a news editor and editorial director at TechTarget’s storage group for 13 years, news editor for storage-centric Byte and Switch, and a research analyst for Evaluator Group. In addition to covering news and writing in-depth features and columns, Dave has moderated panels at tech conferences. While at TechTarget, Raffo Dave won several American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) awards for writing and editing, including for column writing.

Raffo covers the managed services industry for Channel Futures. His reporting beat includes the MSPs, key vendors and tech suppliers with managed services programs, platform providers, distributors and all key players in this sector of the market. Dave also works closely on the Channel Futures MSP 501 and our live events.

Raffo has also worked for United Press International, EdTech magazine, Windows Magazine and Data Center Intelligence Group (DCIG) in reporting, editing and research analyst roles.

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