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Intel To Ship Security-Enhanced VPro Chip

Chip-maker Intel Corp., trying to stave off further encroachment by rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc., showed off technology designed to help businesses automate the management of large fleets of personal computers.

Intel vPro, which will start shipping in the third quarter, will make it easier for computer administrators to fix problems remotely over the network, eliminating in many cases the need for them to make costly visits to an employee's desk, Intel CEO Paul Otellini said Monday.

"It's all about driving costs down and productivity up," Otellini said. In an interview, he likened the product to "GeekSquad online," referring to the computer repair people who staff Best Buy stores.

Intel last week reported a 38 percent profit decline for the first quarter as AMD chips, many that outperform Intel's current offerings, stole market share. With most of AMD's gains in chips for consumer machines and computer servers, vPro appears to an attempt to prevent losses from spilling into the market for business PCs, long a position of strength for Intel.

VPro, which includes a combination of chips and software, also uses a technology called virtualization to safeguard machines against computer viruses and other types of malicious software.

It is part of a host of new products on tap designed to allow Intel to regain share in the second half of the year. Intel also plans to start shipping desktop and server microprocessors in the third that use a new chip design that offers higher performance and lower power consumption.

Intel is also countering with a new generation of factory equipment that etch 65 nanometer lines in silicon, thinner than the previous 90 nanometer features. The change will allow the company to increase the manufacturing capacity of its factories.

"Technology goes in cycles," said Otellini, who noted that cycles are typically centered on new products or new manufacturing techniques. "We're in the beginning of a new cycle."

Shares of Intel closed at $18.91, down 15 cents, in Monday trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

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