IBM Corp’s new baby, the IBM Personal Computer Company (CI No 2,000), launched its first new products in Europe – the Personal System/ValuePoint range – yesterday at prices that it claims better any of its competitors. The ValuePoints are expected to be announced in the US in about two weeks. The AT-bus range has a base price of UKP720 for the 25MHz 386SLC-based C20, which includes MS-DOS 5.01, 2Mb memory, one 1.44 Mb floppy as standard and 80Mb hard disk, but no monitor – pricing excludes screens in all cases. The 86SX F series comes in at UKP940 for a 25MHz 80486SX-based F20, with MS-DOS 5.01, 4Mb of memory, one 1.44Mb floppy and 80Mb disk. The M series starts at UKP1,170 for the 33MHz 80486DX-based M20, with 4Mb memory, one 1.44Mb floppy and 80Mb disk. And the W series starts at UKP1,590 with the 66MHz 80486DX2-based W40 providing 4Mb memory, one 1.44Mb floppy and a 170Mb hard disk. All models have a Super VGA graphics controller, with 1Mb of Video RAM, five AT-bus adaptor slots, three free storage bays, an enhanced keyboard, mouse and IBM BIOS. All models have counterparts bundled with OS/2, but these cost more because of the extra memory required by the operating system: the smallest – C2A – model is UKP880 with 6Mb, and is otherwise the same as the C20. The products formed part of a major launch 50 new machines – all the PS/1s, new PS/2s and notebooks launched in the US over the past month, and a marketing strategy based on branding. IBM will be selling the VP line direct to corporate users as well as through dealer channels. The Personal Computer Business, set up in September and run on a pan-European basis, has focussed on three strategic areas: the home and small business with the PS/1, where price and ease-of-use are said to be paramount; larger companies with the PS/VP, where value and performance is most important, and major enter prises with new Micro Channel network servers and management products, where expandability and manage ability are the key. IBM intends to be aggressive on pricing, claiming that it will match any move by a competitor within 48 hours.
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