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Cisco Unveils Software, Devices That Help Cut Costs

Cisco Systems Inc., the largest computer-networking equipment maker, is introducing products that let a company’s employees use software that runs from data centers, rather than only on their personal computers.

The Virtualization Experience Infrastructure, which includes software and devices, may boost productivity since workers can tap into corporate programs from computers and smartphones outside the office, Cisco said today in a statement. The San Jose, California-based company and virtualization providers Citrix Systems Inc., VMware Inc. and Wyse Technology Inc. will demonstrate the products on a Webcast later today.

A growing number of companies are using desktop virtualization programs to cut costs. Since little computing occurs on each employees’ device, companies can make do with their existing PCs or move to cheaper devices like Web-connected office phones made by Cisco and others that don’t run Microsoft Corp.’s Windows operating system or have powerful processors.

Cisco, whose core products include routers and switches, has expanded its portfolio of end-user devices. The company also is unveiling two “zero-client” devices that let certain screen-equipped Cisco phones display virtualized software similar to a PC.

“In some cases, the phone can become a replacement for the PC,” said Manny Rivelo, Cisco’s senior vice president of systems and architectures. Call centers and retail stores, where staffers don’t need the power of a full PC, would benefit from such devices, he said

Cisco fell 20 cents to $19.95 at 4 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. On Nov. 11, it slid 16 percent, the most in 12 years, after its sales and profit forecast fell short of analysts’ estimates. The stock has lost 17 percent this year.

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