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Intel offers Net phone software

Intel Corp. launched a new technology that lets personal computer users make phone calls on the Internet regardless of what type of phone software is installed on their PCs.

Intel will initially make its software, which was developed by Microsoft Inc., available for free over the World Wide Web, the graphics-rich portion of the Internet.

The move could be a blow to companies such as VocalTec Ltd. and Camelot Ltc, some of the early pioneers of Internet telephony. VocalTec customers must buy two pieces of software in order to talk to one another on the Internet. Intel's technology can be used over a broad array of software.

Analysts said Intel's new product is designed to encourage people to use their PCs for new applications.

"Intel is seeding the market. They're to get people to do more things with their PCs so they can sell more Pentium processors," said John Robb, analyst at Forrester Research in Boston.

VocalTec shares plunged $1.50, or 19 percent, to $6.25. Camelot shares fell 12{ cents to $1.81\. Intel stock was down $1.06\ to $71.68}.

In addition to making phone calls, Intel's software offers directory assistance.

Last week, Intel, the world's top supplier of personal computer microprocessors, and Microsoft, the leading PC software company, agreed to cross-license their technology for communicating on the Internet.