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April 25, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:30pm


By CBR Staff Writer

Tiny Computers Ltd, the British personal computer retail company, will become the McDonalds of the personal computer industry, according to the company’s sales and marketing director, Martin Breffit. Tiny Computers forms half of OT Computers Ltd, along with Opus Computers Ltd, and the company is currently actioning a massive, worldwide expansion plan. Tiny’s aim is to become a household name in the not too distant future. Tiny caters for the home industry and Opus looks after the public sector and has recently won contracts with universities, the National Health Service and the UK government which total a potential 200m pounds a year. Breffit is convinced Tiny will be able to expand at a rate of knots in the coming years throughout the world. The company plans to increase the number of its retail outlets to 50 from 22 by the autumn, and to at least 500 worldwide in the next five years, Breffit said.

Specialized sales staff

Falling by the wayside like so many similar companies have done in the past is not an option considered by Breffit. Escom AG, the German personal computer retailer filed for bankruptcy last year (CI No 2956) following large staff cuts (CI No 2948) made in a bid to shake off creditors. Breffit says Tiny has an advantage over organizations such as Escom owing to its specialized sales staff and low overheads. He believes the majority of computer sales staff are as useful as a plastic bag with a hole in it. UK competitor, computer manufacturer Carrera Technology Ltd, based in London, recognizes the personal computer market is expanding and is well aware of the opportunities that can be had from it. However, Neil Simpkin, the company’s marketing manager said Carrera would be concentrating on building up and enhancing its sole retail outlet and said it was important to learn from the mistakes made by companies such as Escom. He said: We want to get the model right rather than just banging out shop after shop. OT describes itself as a VAM – Value Added Manufacturer – and builds its own mother boards at its head offices in Redhill, Surrey, before buying best-of-breed components and selling the system under the Tiny name. OT Computers started life in 1981, when Opus supplied peripherals and disk drives for BBC Micros, and in 1984 first sold its own range of personal computers aimed at the education market, before expanding into the public sector. 1990 saw the birth of Tiny, established to cater for the home and small office environment, providing a basic building block machine, and the OT name was born in 1995. Tiny products are currently being advertised on television, regional radio and billboards in a bid to draw attention to the company and its products. OT is a privately held company and apparently has absolutely no plans to go public in the future because, according to Breffit, shareholders lose the motivation to control the company when an organization floats. Tiny computers start at around 870 pounds.

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