Growth in the UK PC market has declined disastrously in the first two quarters of 1997, the IBM PC Company said today.
Speaking at a monthly roundtable, Mike Lunch, general manager of the IBM PC Co in the UK, said IDC and Dataquest reports confirmed that while there was a slowdown generally in Europe, the UK only grew by one per cent in the first quarter of this year.
He said: "IDC data showed that growth here was only one per cent and the UK market is suffering quite badly. It's not meltdown but there's a weakness in the consumer sector." But although there is a slowdown, Lunch warned that smaller companies were likely to suffer more than the majors. IBM itself had shown consistent growth quarter on quarter, he said. "Major manufacturers are growing so there's considerable squeezing taking place," he said. "We grew by 12 per cent in the first quarter despite the tough conditions."
The effect of this had led to a consolidation of the channel, he said. GE Capital's acquisition of Systems International was just a precursor of what is to come, Lunch said. "I talked to GE Capital yesterday and they are continuing their ggressive plans to grow through acquisition," he said. Lunch warned that people could not expect its Net PCs, expected to be shown at next week's PC Expo, will not be cheaper than ordinary PCs.
"The whole argument here is cost of ownership," he said. "Now Microsoft seem to be backing away [from Net PCs] and backing NCs instead.
"We ourselves are seeing enormous interest in NCs," Lunch said. "In fact we're sold out. In the Thinkpad arena we see a movement towards low end models."
Today IBM launched its 310 Thinkpad, which comes with inbuilt CD-ROM, a PCMCIA modem and Windows 95. Available immediately, the company gave no prices.
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