As it hinted it would last February (CI No 3,109) Dell Computer Corp is attempting to break into the workstation market using Windows NT and the Pentium II processor to take on manufacturers of traditional Unix and based RISC machines. It will join arch rival Compaq Computer Corp, along with established workstation vendors Hewlett Packard Co and Digital Equipment Corp, who are already bidding for a sizable chunk of a market predicted to reach 2.6 million units this year. The stage is now set for a ferocious battle between the PC makers and traditional suppliers which could send prices tumbling as they scrap for a market which market researchers International Data Corp predicts will expand by 44% a year. Some time later this year, Dell is expected to launch single and dual-processor models, which it will sell through its direct sales operation. Initial targets for the Dell products will be the financial services, software development and computer aided design markets. Company chief executive officer Michael Dell claims that buyers of Dell workstations will save thousands of dollars immediately and says there will be further economies over the life of the product through the use of standard processors and operating systems. He predicts the workstation market will follow a similar pattern to the network server business, where Unix machines are being replaced by less expensive NT boxes. The corporate market already accounts for 90% of Dell’s sales and Jeff Clarke, a 10-year Dell veteran, has been appointed to head up a new internal organization which will mastermind the assault of the workstation market. Both Intel Corp and Microsoft Corp led the applause for Dell’s entry into the market – and both companies have much to gain from any success it achieves.
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