Intel Sets $300 Million Fund To Spur “Ultrabooks”

Intel Corp. said its investment arm is allocating $300 million to help encourage innovation around a breed of ultra-thin portable PCs that the chip maker calls Ultrabooks.

The announcement by Intel Capital late Wednesday is the latest in a series of funds that it has dedicated to spur technologies that could help broaden the market for Intel chips. In this case, Intel said it plans to invest in companies working on technologies–such as sensors and touch-related hardware and software–that could enhance Ultrabooks.

Intel is quick to acknowledge that the Ultrabook effort was in large part inspired by Apple Inc.’s iPad tablet and particularly its sleek MacBook Air. The latter was recently updated with Intel’s latest microprocessors and has been selling much more briskly than most laptop PCs running Microsoft Corp.’s Windows operating system.

“To date if you wanted that sleek design you had to buy a Mac,” said Greg Welch, director of Intel’s Ultrabook group, in an interview last week. “There are people who want a PC in that form factor.”

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