Intel moves into Web hosting

Chip king Intel is branching into cyberspace with ambitious plans to become a major provider for Web hosting, storage and Internet content and services, a company spokesman has revealed.

The endeavour will be overseen by Gerry Parker, head of Intel's New Business Group, according to spokesman Adam Grossberg.

To power the plan, Intel will build "bit factories" worldwide, each comprised of thousands of servers that will allow businesses to outsource their Web and e-commerce activities, Grossberg said. The company will partner with telecommunications companies and Internet service providers to make the physical connections, he added.

Intel will have three server facilities online in the US within the next few months, whilst international facilities are expected to open by year's end and early next year. Each server farm will cost about $US50 million.

"We're really looking to provide businesses with an end-to-end commerce solution," Grossberg said. In addition, Intel will offer services to help companies build content-rich Web sites through consulting, engineering and program management, he added.

One expert was cautiously optimistic about Intel's chances for success in this new market. "Intel's certainly got the technology credentials, and they've proven the ability to market the hell out of themselves,'' said Harry Fenik, an analyst at Zona Research. "But this area is very far afield from their core business."

The question, according to Fenik, is "if the Intel brand can bring the comfort and security needed to users for them to put their lives in Intel's hands".

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