Intel to launch enterprise desktop platform

Intel will follow-up on the success of the Centrino notebook brand, with a desktop equivalent, to be launched today.

The platform definition, expected to include features for security, management and energy saving, was revealed by Intel chief executive Paul Otellini in a financial conference call last week , in which he referred to an "upcoming brand associated with the business desktop that we'll talk about on Monday."

The company has scheduled an "enterprise announcement" in San Francisco, which will include industry partners including security vendor Symantec, said Intel spokesman Scott McLaughlin.

Intel aims to outsmart processor rival AMD, and boost PC sales to business, by expanding its role in systems design, say observers who believe Intel will wrap a number of important enterprise features into the new brand, much in the way that it associated wireless laptop computing with its Centrino brand.

"The three things they're going to focus on are security, manageability and energy efficiency," said Richard Shim, a senior research analyst with IDC.

Intel hopes that investing in a new brand will revitalise growth in the enterprise desktop market, which is expected to be flat in Europe and the US this year, according to Shim. "The desktop PC needs a little love, so this other platform will help to shine a little light on this segment," he said.

Worldwide enterprise desktop shipments grew 7.9 percent in 2005, totalling 84 million units, according to the latest IDC figures. In 2006 that number is expected to rise by another 6.1 percent, to just over 89 million units.

Intel hopes to reproduce the success of its Centrino platform with the new brand, said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight64.

"When Intel looks at Centrino the general conclusion is, 'Boy, that was a home run.' They spent US$300 million advertising the brand and 12 months later everybody thought Intel invented wireless," he said. "They're hoping that they can recreate that here."

Intel is already attempting a similar strategy for home PCs, with the Viiv media centre specification.