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  • NEC Focuses on Space-Saving Computers, PC Sales Manager Says
  • November 26, 1998 (TOKYO) -- NEC Corp., Japan's largest maker of personal computers, will discontinue offering traditional desktop-type PCs (horizontal type, or non-tower type) in its winter season PC line aimed at the year-end sales campaign.
    Nearly 30 models in 10 lines of NEC PCs have space-saving features, the company said.

    NEC will roll out seven types and 22 models of "slim tower" products with vertical designs (with a width of 86mm), and two models of "boxless personal computers." NEC said that the latter comes with a liquid crystal display (LCD) monitor integrated in the PC. Also, NEC will offer six models of the so-called mini-tower type that are separate from the space-saving PCs.

    BizTech News Dept. interviewed Noboru Ozawa, assistant general manager of NEC Personal Systems Ltd. (Pastem), and inquired about the aim of the radical change in the company's product line.

    BizTech: Why has NEC stopped making the traditional desktop-type PCs?

    Ozawa: There are two reasons for ending the production of traditional or horizontal desktop-type PCs.

    First, users are looking for space-saving feature in a PC. In the case of the ValueStar NX series, sales of slim tower PCs in the first half of 1998 increased by 56 percent. In the June-September period, sales of the series increased by 68 percent. These figures convinced us that users like space-saving PCs rather than traditional desktop or mini-tower type PCs.

    Also, we have succeeded in building in two PCI slots, and in securing sufficient expandability, even for the slim tower type PCs whose interior space is quite limited.

    Slim tower type

    So far, we have been able to build in only one PCI slot in the existing slim tower type PCs. Even with the increasing number of space-conscious users, there still are quite a few customers, for example, who want PCs equipped with both a SCSI board and a LAN board, as well as an expansion slot. Traditionally, customers with such requirements had to select desktop type PCs equipped with multiple expansion slots.

    Now, users no longer have a compelling reason to select traditional desktop-type PCs, and we have decided to remove such standard desktop-type PCs from our product line.

    It did not take us too long to reach this conclusion. When more PCs are available with an LCD monitor, the need to select standard desktop-types will diminish.

    Also, NEC has reviewed the entire product line because PC shops pointed out that too many types and models tend to reduce the efficiency of inventory control/sales management.

    BizTech: But NEC has retained the PC set of CRTs and slim towers.

    Ozawa: We have kept our CRT models for the low-end PC line. To offer reasonably priced sets, CRT models are indispensable. Price-conscious users are likely to consider that LCD models (a slim tower and an LCD monitor) are still too expensive for their budgets.

    Among the ValueStar NX series, market demand for CRT models priced below 200,000 yen (US$1,650) remains strong. Low-priced CRT models are expected to account for almost 20 percent of total sales of the ValueStar NX series.

    BizTech: Why has NEC included 350MHz/400MHz Pentium II models among low-priced CRT models?

    Ozawa: Customers seeking high-performance models at the lowest price tend to select CRT models rather than LCD models. It was necessary to include Pentium II-equipped models in addition to the low-priced Celeron types. We think that customers who want reasonably priced models will likely select those with 350MHz microprocessors and customers requiring high-performance models will select 400MHz microprocessors.

    Boxless type

    BizTech: Projected sales of the "boxless PCs" are said to account for only 1 percent of total sales of the ValueStar NX series. This appears to be an extremely conservative figure.

    Ozawa: The boxless PC is a product that proposes a new concept to meet users' space-saving needs. However, NEC believes it will take time for the new PCs to be accepted by users because of the new concept and form. That's why NEC set the 1-percent projection.

    NEC projects that sales of the boxless type will be small, so the scheduled launch date of the boxless PCs is almost a month later than the other types. NEC believes that the most popular type will be the slim tower.

    The body of a boxless type PC is installed in the base of the LCD monitor, and it has components used in notebook PCs. For example, the CPU is a Pentium II for mobile PCs and it is not equipped with an expansion slot.

    Those customers who place a priority on the space-saving feature and are willing to sacrifice expandability are expected to fully accept boxless PCs.

    (BizTech News Dept.)

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    Updated: Wed Nov 25 15:22:06 1998 PDT