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March 6, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

IBM is beginning to realise that it needs endorsement for the Microchannel Architecture of the Personal System/2 from other major manufacturers if it is to counter the runaway success of 80386-based machines that use the old AT bus. And last week, Entry Systems chief William Lowe told the Wall Street Journal that IBM was looking to supply other major computer manufacturers with key Microchannel components on an OEM basis, and was also prepared to supply complete PS/2s under OEM contracts. On Friday, Olivetti leaped to deny that it was holding talks with IBM – but Lowe was almost certainly referring to a licence agreement with the Italian for the design of the Microchannel. Olivetti has reportedly already revealed at an informal lunch that it did have a licence for the Microchannel. Siemens already buys 3380 disk drives OEM from IBM, but on the PS/2 front is not likely to be interested in buying more than key chips used in the machine. IBM is now clearly worried that its strategy to persuade the whole world that the original Personal Computer family is dead and that PS/2 is the future has not been very successful. Certain models of the original IBM Personal Computer family are still available in several European countries, and Lowe commented that sales of these machines were stronger than I expected. Making things worse, several manufacturers, led by Compaq, have declared that programs written for the new OS/2 operating system run faster on AT bus boxes than they do on IBM’s comparable PS/2 models, drawing the conclusion that there are no performance benefits to be had from using the Microchannel.

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