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Intellext is taking its Watson desktop search tool to the enterprise through the channel.

The pair inked a deal early in the week of April 24 that gives Tech Data, a distributor based in Clearwater, Fla., the exclusive right to distribute licenses for Intellext’s just-released Watson 2.3 through its TechSelect resellers for one year.

Watson is a desktop search tool, similar to Google Desktop, but designed to proactively find and deliver information to users from the Web, desktops, servers and databases.

The deal is a new step for Intellext, which until now has distributed its software via Internet downloads, mostly of its free consumer version.

Even the professional version, which is available for $9.95 per month or $99.95 per year, is distributed mostly through downloads.

Read more here about how Intellext’s desktop search tool Watson and its contextual search approach.

A channel strategy may seem like a nutty idea for a company that delivers its product via downloads, but the route to market will allow larger deals, broader acceptance and a bit of professional credibility built on VAR contacts and the trusted advisor status of many partners, said Robert Biddle, Intellext’s vice president and general manager of consumer products.

“We’re planning to use the channel to introduce the product quickly [to customers],” Biddle said. “They can reach far more customers than we can leveraging current contacts and customers … Anyone can sell this as a basic add-on to a Microsoft solution.”

VARs will also help Intellext bridge the gap that has kept it out of larger deals, namely the sales cycle and customization, he said.

Click here to read about Google’s partner base—which had reached nearly 50 partners in March—and how partners fit into the company’s enterprise vision.

The product is as simple to sell as offering a download of the 15-day trial of the professional version, but there is also the opportunity for customization with the enterprise environment, including integration with Microsoft Office applications, servers and Microsoft SharePoint, said Jay Budzik, founder and chief technology officer of Intellext, in Chicago.

Intellext has established a “healthy” margin, Biddle said. The company also is adding a channel manager position and intends to run demand generation, marketing and some “lightweight” training programs through Tech Data’s infrastructure, he said.

The company will maintain a free download of the product on Intellext’s site, and still values lifetime users of the free, consumer product, which drives ad revenue. But the company sees an enterprise future for itself, Budzik said.