Wyse CEOOn the hardware front, Apple's new MacBook Air may be the thinnest notebook on the planet. But on the software front, the title of "thinnest" notebook likely belongs to Wyse Technology. During a chat with The VAR Guy earlier today, Wyse CEO Tarkan Maner (pictured) mentioned growing interest in the company's thin notebooks. Here's a recap of the conversation.

The devices, introduced in September 2007, have no hard drive or fan, and no moving parts. The thin client notebooks display applications housed on VMware Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), Citrix Application Delivery and Microsoft Windows Terminal Server. In other words, Wyse has pushed the thin client software model out to notebook computers.

It's always difficult to measure Wyse's true momentum, because Maner is perpetually upbeat and energetic during conversations. However, Maner made some convincing points about growing momentum for thin client computing:
  • Desktop Virtualization: In early 2007, Maner predicted virtualization would spill over into the client market. He certainly wasn't alone in that prediction. But it was largely on the mark. Just about everyone is talking about desktop virtualization now, and Wyse stands to benefit because of its software architecture and relationships with virtualization partners.
  • Green Machines: Generally speaking, thin clients draw less power than traditional PCs. Plus, "power over Ethernet" standards allow thin clients to receive their power from the network rather than from a wall outlet. In other words, thin clients can be installed anywhere you can run an Ethernet cable.
  • Zero Client Computing: The VAR Guy wasn't familiar with this term, but Maner brought it up several times. Unlike thin clients -- which typically are equipped with tightly written operating systems -- Zero Clients or Zero Computing involves clients that have no operating system and no moving parts. Wyse is putting its R&D and marketing dollars behind the Zero Client concept.
On the channel front, Maner says Wyse continues to sell exclusively through the channel. Key partner initiatives, according to a Wyse spokesman, include the Opportunity Registration program, which gives the registering VAR 3 percent to 5 percent of margin to play with, win or lose, depending on their partnership status level with Wyse.
  • If the customer chooses Wyse and fulfills thru the registering VAR, that VAR gets the additional 3 percent to 5 percent on top of their normal margins.
  • If the customer fulfills thru someone other than the registering VAR, the registering VAR still receives 3 percent to 5 percent from Wyse.
Another Wyse program, called “Sky's the Limit,” helps resellers and strategic partners fund regional events to promote thin computing.

Where does Wyse go from here? Sounds like the company will work more and more closely with Dell and other partners to accelerate interest in thin client computing. The VAR Guy intends to test Wyse's thin notebook over the next few weeks. Stay tuned for updates.