Taiwanese electronics giant Asus plans to sell, support and develop NUC mini PCs as part of a proposed licensing deal with Intel announced on Tuesday evening.
Intel said it has agreed to a term sheet with Asus that will grant the Taiwan-based company a non-exclusive license to the chipmaker’s NUC mini PC designs. This will let Asus sell 10th- to 13th-generation NUC products, develop new NUC designs and support NUC customers, the two companies said.
The move likely means broad availability of NUC PCs in the channel will continue once the Intel-Asus deal is completed. Asus runs a channel partner program and has distribution agreements in the United States with ASI, D&H Distributing, Ingram Micro, TD Synnex and Ma Labs.
The companies did not say when they expect to sign a final agreement to facilitate the transfer of a NUC license to Asus. They also did not disclose any financial details of the proposed licensing deal.ADVERTISEMENT
An Intel spokesperson confirmed receipt of a list of questions from CRN and said it would provide responses soon. Asus did not respond by press time.
The announcement of a proposed licensing deal between Intel and Asus arrived a week after Intel said that it was exiting its 10-year-old NUC business, which consisted of pre-built mini PCs as well as kits, boards and modules that enabled partners to build customized NUCs and laptops.
“Our NUC systems product team delivered unique products that spurred innovation in the ultra-small form factor market,” said Sam Gao, vice president and general manager of Intel client platform solutions, in a Tuesday statement. “As we pivot our strategy to enable ecosystem partners to continue NUC systems product innovation and growth, our priority is to ensure a smooth transition for our customers and partners.”
Asus COO Joe Hsieh said his company is “committed to ensuring the excellent support and service that NUC systems customers expect.”
“Thank you, Intel, for your confidence in us to take the NUC systems product line forward. I am confident that this collaboration will enhance and accelerate our vision for the mini PC, greatly expanding our footprint in areas such as AI and AIoT,” he said in a statement.
Licensing Deal Provides Clarity To Intel’s NUC Business Exit News
When Intel announced that it was exiting the NUC business last week, the news had created some uncertainty among the chipmaker’s channel partners about the future of the NUC product line.
While Intel said last week that it was pivoting its strategy “to enable our ecosystem partners to continue NUC innovation and growth,” the semiconductor giant declined to say at the time if it planned to sell or transfer NUC assets to another company and promised an update by August.
“That other partner that comes along [and buys the NUC business] maybe fills that gap and nobody blinks, but we’re going to go through a period of uncertainty where we just don’t know,” said John Deatherage, CMO of Intel partner Simply NUC, in an interview with CRN last week.
At the same time, Intel said it would discontinue all NUC products in September, which led some partners to consider alternatives. One Intel NUC buyer, edge computing and virtualization vendor Scale Computing, committed to using Simply NUC’s in-house Topaz mini PC design along with Lenovo’s M90Q mini PC for its HE100 platform a day after the news of Intel’s NUC business exit came out.
One solution provider executive who was dismayed last week by the lack of details surrounding Intel’s abrupt decision to exit the NUC business said he is pleased that Asus will keep the NUC product line alive.
“We have used Asus motherboards in our system builds for more than two decades, and we are happy to hear Asus will be continuing the Intel NUC line of systems,” said Erik Semmel, vice president of sales at Hartford, Conn.-based TAB Computer Systems, in an email.LEARN MORE: Notebooks
Dylan Martin is a senior editor at CRN covering the semiconductor, PC, mobile device, and IoT beats. He has distinguished his coverage of the semiconductor industry thanks to insightful interviews with CEOs and top executives; scoops and exclusives about product, strategy and personnel changes; and analyses that dig into the why behind the news. He can be reached at [email protected].
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