UK schools have to pay relatively more for IT equipment than schools in other European Union (EU) countries, according to a series of representations filed by Fujitsu with UK consumer minister Nigel Griffiths.
But that is likely to spark a veritable firestorm of protest from other computer vendors and suppliers of components, which argue that other reasons explain the price differences across Europe.
A representative from Fujitsu UK said today that UK managing director Brian Taylor told Griffiths last Wednesday: "You're trying to bring IT into education - why don't you make this a level playing field?" He said that Taylor had given Griffiths a sheaf of documents showing that other EU territories - including Sweden - had a preferential rate to encourage school children and others to use PCs.
"Nigel Griffiths is on a fact finding mission and had a meeting with us last Wednesday,? he said, ?and it's something he's particularly interested in." But Fujitsu UK denied that it should simply reduce its prices. He argued there were differential rates throughout Europe, both on currency exchange and taxation.
"We are saying that there are certain channels that expect a big mark-up," the representative said. "Car companies may do that but PC companies certainly do not." VNU Newswire originally pointed out Fujitsu Europe's concern over high UK prices in November 1997.
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