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AMD joins with Computer Associates on business push

Advanced Micro Devices moves deeper into the business market in a deal with Computer Associates that will make it easier for corporate customers to adopt AMD-based computers.

Advanced Micro Devices moved deeper into the business market today in a deal with Computer Associates that will make it easier for corporate customers to adopt AMD-based computers.

Under the pact, the two will release on March 1 a version of CA's desktop management software, called Unicenter TNG Desktop Edition, for computers using AMD processors. With Unicenter, business IT (information technology) managers can monitor the health of desktops and take corrective measures, such as scan for viruses, speed up internal fans or shut down desktops entirely, from remote locations.

"We realized there was a real need for a solution that would demystify how PCs communicate problems and alerts," said Mark Sokol, senior vice president for global marketing at CA.

While software like this has been around for a few years, most of it has been designed to run Intel processors, which sit at the center of the vast majority of business PCs. AMD, however, hopes to change that with Athlon, the company's touted performance processor released last Summer.

Although still largely found in consumer PCs, Athlon has been getting increased interest from the workstation and business PC divisions of major manufacturers, according to AMD executives and analysts. Yesterday, IBM executives said that they would include AMD processors in discount "Stardust" PCs for business, coming in the second quarter.

The company also demonstrated a 1.1-GHz Athlon processor at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco.

The business market is far larger than the consumer market but much more conservative, thus it is more reluctant to experiment with new technology. AMD's goal is to achieve 30 percent market share and the company will "never get there without substantial penetration into the commercial market," AMD chief executive W.J. "Jerry" Sanders said last month. Therefore, support from IBM and CA will likely help build momentum for AMD.

CA's software will manage a gamut of functions, according to Sokol. IT managers will be able to use it to scan for viruses, keep an inventory on internal components and component changes, deliver software, detect chassis intrusion and monitor the internal temperature of the PC, among other tasks.

The software will be free and available on the web sites of both companies.