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August 23, 1998


By CBR Staff Writer

IBM Corp will announce a new super-performance PC this week, signaling the company’s renewed focus on the high end, according to widespread industry reports. As the first in series of such announcements in the coming months, IBM will launch the new Cobra box – which will feature a 450 MHz Pentium II chip, 128 MB of RAM and a 16.8 Gb hard disk, a machine that dwarfs the performance and storage capacity of mid-tier consumer machines currently being sold. The Cobra is reported to be upgradable to an amazing 384Mb of RAM. The new PC, which is to come in a sleek black design, will list for upwards of $2,000 – but it’s unclear by how much – and round out Big Blue’s high-end consumer desktop line. The Cobra should appeal to that small segment of the market that is willing to pay up for serious performance, a demographic that IBM has typically catered to with success. Recent data shows that 28% of the company’s PC unit sales in July came from models priced over $2,000. The introduction of such a product comes in direct contrast to recent trends in consumer PCs that have seen the market evolve rapidly toward low-end, low-priced machines. If IBM can move enough of the product, though, it should realize some healthy profit margins. The Cobra is expected to ship on September 15. IBM, while refusing to discuss the Cobra, did say that a stampede to the low-end has left a lot of high-end users high and dry. The company feels that there is a lot of room left at both ends and the Cobra is the first of a series of machines designed to fill that room.

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