Dell Computer Corp, Austin, Texas is the first company to announce that it has signed a licence agreement with IBM regarding IBM’s patents that relate to present and future Dell personal computers. Under the agreement Dell Computer is permitted to manufacture and sell personal computers compatible with IBM’s XT, AT and Micro Channel Architecture machines under IBM’s current patents, and some not yet granted which cover various features of the PS/2 line. Dell will pay IBM royalty fees on sales of certain current and future personal computers, including the PS/2-compatible models announced for fourth quarter delivery in the US. And, making it even tougher for its competitors who would rather hold out, Dell has agreed to make retroactive payments on IBM-compatible machines that it has already sold. Dell’s decision to fall into line with the new IBM licensing policy means that anyone else – except those having comprehensive patent cross-licence agreements with IBM – who wants to clone the PS/2 line is going to have to pay back royalties on any XT and AT clones they have sold over the years or see IBM in court.
Separately, Dell Computer has opened for business in Japan, where it plans to assemble its machines for the local market from parts bought in from Far East suppliers.