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May 4, 1987

COMPUTER FACTORS TAKES IBM PS/2, RT, BUT PICK-POPPING IS STILL TOPS

By CBR Staff Writer

Pick systems house Computer Factors Ltd of Coventry has racked up a 70% increase in turnover and a 600% jump in profits, which suggests that there’s life in the ol’ Pick market yet. Factors hit UKP4.4m in sales, and reaped UKP180,000 pre-tax for 1986 after figures of just UKP2.6m and UKP30,000 for 1985. Although Computer Factors has taken a bit of a sideways move into Unix and IBM Personals, over 65% of its business still came from Pick installations on Honeywell, ADDS and Ultimate machines. Most of the rest came from Personals, but Factors is starting to move some of IBM’s RT Personal RISC machines and is taking on board the whole Personal System/2 range during 1987. IBM is likely to be courting companies with a track record of handling multi-user, multi-tasking environments and Computer Factors boss Chris Creighton-Thomas was more than keen to make a point that yes, companies like his would take on the IBM range, but no, it won’t stop them making even more money out of Pick systems. We treat the IBM systems as worth selling into horizontal environments, while we have strong vertical applications for Pick based machines. Which is another way of saying that all the IBM machines are sold with software off the shelf. IBM is believed to be making PS/2 particularly attractive to companies like Computer Factors, offering discounts in the 40% region where business is up around the UKP1m a year mark. IBM has also changed the way it allocates discount, by basing it on quarterly orders rather than each single order. This may go a long way to reduce unhealthy overstocking by micro suppliers and the resultant mass discount houses that just warehouse the machines. Creighton-Thomas sees over UKP5m turnover for Computer Factors for 1987 and has already done UKP1.3m in the first quarter.

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