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ComputerLand Corp will not stock any clones of the IBM Personal System/2 line in its franchises unless the manufacturer agrees to indemnify the company against the costs of any legal action that might be brought by IBM against the company. The move is seen in some quarters as a serious threat to the embryonic busin ess of attempting to clone the PS/2 family. Although analysts contacted by Reuters suggested that the Com puterLand decision would virtually eliminate the price advantage of clones over the IBM models because their tags would have to bear the cost both of patent licence fees paid to IBM and a provision for possible costs of legal action, no company not prepared to run the risk of legal action from IBM is going to introd uce a PS/2 anyway. Nevertheless the announcement is a further damper on the PS/2 clone business, and more and more observers are questioning whether the IBM machine is worth cloning. From IBM’s point of view, that attitude is not good news, because on balance the company needs a lively clone market to win a widespread commitment to its new standard. At pre sent all the signs are that PS/2s are going overwhel mingly to those large corporate users who always vote the IBM ticket anyway. But if the generality of per sonal computer users can’t be persuaded of the bene fits of PS/2, the Microchannel and the OS/2 operating system – which got a quite devastatingly dismal rec eption at last week’s Comdex/Spring in Atlanta, IBM will lose all hold over the personal computer market.

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CBR Staff Writer

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