Intel has moved down to the small business level with a set of networking products set to commoditise the market and galvanise competitors such as 3Com into a price war.
It has announced a family of products - Intel in Business - including three 10Mbps Ethernet hubs, three 100Mbps Fast Ethernet hubs, two Ethernet switches and an Internet connectivity station.
This time last year, Intel threw the low end networking market into disarray by offering network interface cards (NICs) at a price that undercut the dominant players.
Now Intel is turning the same tactic on a broader range of products. US prices for the Intel In Business family are $499 for the Internet Station, $79 for a five-port hub, $115 for an eight-port hub, $245 for a four-port Fast Ethernet hub, and $909 for an eigh-port Switch Plus.
According to Intel, the entire family was designed ?from the ground up? for small business owners and it will offer a bundled networking solution for these customers, to be sold through the channel.
Further, said Intel: ?The InBusiness products all ship with an easy to understand poster that virtually walks the user through the installation process. There are no bulky manuals to pore over or difficult configuration scripts to follow. The Intel In Business products are designed to be plugged in and work with a few simple steps.?
The Internet Station, said Intel, will work with analogue and ISDN links and includes software and bridges to connect small businesses to the larger world.
No-one from either 3Com or Bay - both of which will be under fire in their low end markets - could be contacted at press time, although some sources speculated that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) may broaden its ongoing monitoring of Intel's competitive position to the networking sector.
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