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Intel, IBM to cut cost of PC use

Intel and IBM are working on standards that will lower the cost of managing networked PCs.

Intel (INTC) said today that it will be working with IBM (IBM) to develop standards that will lower the cost of managing networked PCs, an issue that has turned into a rallying cry for proponents of network computers.

The "Advanced Manageability Alliance" outlines a broad-based effort to leverage the two companies' respective strengths in PC-based networking technologies.

Intel will initially integrate IBM's Wake On LAN remote management capability into its Fast Ethernet local area network adapters and LANDesk client management software. IBM, for its part, will incorporate Intel products into its commercial Pentium Pro and Pentium desktop computers starting in the first quarter of 1997.

But IBM and Intel are also collaborating on next-generation technologies and products intended to make the installation, configuration, and upgrade process easier for both new and existing PCs. Upcoming products in this vein include IBM's LAN Client Control Manager and Intel's LANDesk Configuration Manager.

The effort is part of a broad-based Intel attempt to lower the cost of total PC ownership and comes under the umbrella of its "Wired for Management" initiative launched in September.

Intel and IBM are trying to be proactive in battling the impression that PC administration costs are out of control. Proponents of the low-cost, thin-client approach like Oracle, Sun Microsystems, and Netscape Communications argue that yearly administration costs for a single PC can add up to $10,000.

This IBM-Intel cooperation also comes fast on the heels of a Microsoft-Intel announcement that the two giants intend to develop a new platform for NetPCs, sealed-case network devices that feature low cost of ownership.

"Studies we've seen show that a constant changing of the client significantly adds to cost of ownership. It's not how capable the machine is to begin with, but how much it changes," noted Will Swope, director of the NetPC program for Intel. "We'll deliver platforms that meet customer requirements and are optimized to a particular task. Once it is on site, IS managers will have more ability to control it and limit unauthorized changes," he said of Intel's NetPC vision.

Microsoft's Bill Gates was also out today reassuring users that the company is making "zero administration" costs a top priority. (See related story, Gates looks to the future)

IBM and Intel's new products and technologies will complement joint efforts to integrate enterprise systems and desktop management capabilities, involving the Tivoli Systems TME 10 NetFinity product and Intel's LANDesk management products, the companies said.

Specifically, as a result of these joint efforts, will enable users to:

--use integrated PC diagnostics to reduce service calls and downtime.
--simplify desktop administration and client installation and upgrades.
--prevent system failures with an alert management system.
--track PC and network assets.
--reduce support costs for networked PCs.