ICL is launching a nationwide scheme to sell reconditioned PCs to consumers and small businesses, but analysts believe the idea is dead in the water.
The service, dubbed Star (Second Time Around) aims to emulate Vauxhall?s Network Q scheme for selling secondhand cars, by employing 300 reputable dealers across the UK to sell reconditioned desktop and notebook PCs.
ICL plans to recondition old PCs from corporations for which it is installing new systems. The revamped machines will be from brand leaders, including Compaq, IBM and Hewlett Packard.
Each will be wiped of data, refurbished, resprayed, relicensed, fitted with a new keyboard and mouse and loaded with Microsoft Windows. All systems sold will come with a 9-day warranty. Dealers recruited will provide telephone support and extended warranty if required.
Prices will start at around #199 for a 486 system and will rise to #350 for a Pentium. Prices will be set by ICL and dealers will not be allowed to undercut each other, confirmed an ICL representative.
?These systems will be ideal for students, small businesses who do not need the biggest and fastest systems to get started and households, maybe looking for a second PC,? explained ICL?s representative.
A great green recycling initiative it may be, considering that some 1.8 million PCs were sold last year and over half were replacements, but analysts are not convinced.
?There may be a niche market for small, cost conscious businesses who don?t need all the bells and whistles,? commented Pete Day, an analyst for market research company Inteco. ?But consumers, no way. In the UK they can be talked up, they buy high spec machines and they want the latest and the biggest."
?It is a nice idea, but mass secondhand market potential - no way,? added Day.
ICL, however, is confident its idea will catch on among rivals thanks to European Union legislation expected next year, which will tighten the rules on disposing of old computer equipment. Computers contain an number of dangerous components, such as lithium, which can be toxic if not disposed of safely.
ICL currently gets rid of most of its customers? old PCs and other computer equipment by cannibalising parts for its service business.
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