First to accept the challenge laid down by Digital Equipment Corp with its price massacre on Alpha RISC chips on the merchant market is Lenexa, Kansas-based DeskStation Technology Inc. The company is lining up a series of Windows NT on Alpha machines that PC Week hears will be called the Rebel Value Line, reflecting base prices of under $5,000 for a 500MHz machine. We think we’re offering three times the performance of a 200MHz Pentium Pro system at the same price, president Don Peterson told the paper, adding that DEC’s big price cut on the chips was not enough in itself – Deskstation was having to squeeze its margins to build volume as well. The company is also looking to DEC’s FX!32 emulator, which enables iAPX-86 Windows NT applications to run unchanged on Alpha systems to help it overcome customer antipathy towards moving outside the iAPX-86 world with NT. The danger DeskStation faces is that if the new machines, which are to appear at Comdex and to start shipping early next month, are more than moderately successful, the company will find that it is effectively sawing off the branch on which it is sitting by taking substantial sales away from DEC, thereby limiting its ability to continue investment in Alpha. Meantime the paper also reports that DEC has signed privately-held start-up Enorex Microsystems Inc, based in Edison, New Jersey, to handle direct sales of Alpha systems. The machines will start at $3,000 for a 233MHz model, and will be sold with DEC’s FX!32 Windows-on-Alpha emulator.
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