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January 28, 1998

MATSUSHITA PUTS BACK DVD RAM SHIP DATE

By CBR Staff Writer

Matsushita Electric Co has said it will not now be shipping DVD, Digital Video Disk RAM products until April at the earliest, with most of the executives in the company’s DVD business development office putting the date vaguely at Spring 1998. Director of DVD business development, Sakon Nagasaki was equally non-specific about the reason for the delay in delivering the hardware, originally due this month (CI No 3,281), except to say that the company was trying to resolve software bundling issues and sort out compatibility issues with other manufacturers. He commented: because it is quite new technology it is very important for us to be cautious about what kind of software will be bundled and check compatibility with hardware available from other manufacturers. Nagasaki is adamant that the delay will not have a serious impact on the company’s sales targets for 1998. Matsushita reckons a worldwide total of 500,000 DVD-RAM drives will be shipped this year, rising tenfold to 5 million next year, and 12 million in 2000 when it expects the DVD RAM to take off in the mainstream PC market. Speaking to Computergram, the company said that it’s aiming to take around 35% of the DVD RAM market in the first three years but did not say how much that might be worth. Competition will initially come from the likes of Toshiba Corp and Hitachi Ltd. Toshiba predicts manufacturers will ship a total of 600,000 DVD RAM drives in 1998. Figures for 1999 and the year 2000 are radically less optimistic than Matsushita’s predictions however at 1.8 million and 5 million respectively. Toshiba says it also expects to come out with a rival DVD RAM offering in April, priced at around $500. Matsushita said it would be releasing specific technical and pricing details of its DVD RAM drives at the end of March.

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