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May 24, 1988

MATSUSHITA SAYS IT WILL BUILD PS/2s FOR IBM IN THE US

By CBR Staff Writer

At the inception of the PS/2 line, IBM commissioned Matsushita Electric Industrial Co to put together subsassemblies for the low-end Model 30 in Japan and ship them to IBM in the US for final assembly and test. The arrangement continued until the exercise was rendered uneconomic by the punitive 100% sanctions imposed by the US on Japanese personal computers in retaliation for alleged non-conformance with aspects of the US-Japan semiconductor trade agreement. Since then the rise in the value of the Yen means that even if the sanctions were lifted, Matsushita could no longer make a profit on the trade – and so the company has decided to fit out a factory in the US to do the work for IBM. According to the Financial Times, Matsushita says it will start supplying IBM again in August – which suggests that it may be doing the expected low-end 80286-based successor to the PS/2 Model 30. IBM subcontracts much of its personal computer manufacturing, notably to SCI Systems Corp, Huntsville, Alabama; the ill-fated PCjr was only ever manufactured by Teledyne Inc.

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