There are strong signs of life after death for bombed-out Birmingham microcomputer manufacturer Apricot Computers Plc. The new Xen-i IBM AT-alike is going unexpectedly well, maintenance business is growing at a 20% annual clip, the subsidiary in France, currently losing UKP100,000 a year, is to go, likely in a management buyout – and the firm has UKP4m cash and no debt. And Apricot has not one, but two 80386 boxes for launch next week: as well as the widely-forecast file server, there will be a desk-top model to take on the highly successful Compaq Deskpro 386. IBM’s 80386 machine is receding towards 1988, and the longer IBM tarries, the more firmly established the Compaq standard will become. All of which has put bounce in the sleepy Apricot share price, which yesterday closed at 67 pence for a two-day climb of 12 pence, up 22%.
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