IBM to take Thinkpads downmarket

IBM is about to start aiming its mobile Thinkpad computer range downmarket in a bid to emulate the success of market leader Toshiba.

IBM is about to start aiming its mobile Thinkpad computer range downmarket in a bid to emulate the success of market leader Toshiba.

According to Per Larsen, IBM's vice-president of Thinkpad marketing, Toshiba dominates to the extent that it does (scoring 50% of New Zealand notebook sales in the first six months of the year) because it understands the market. IBM, on the other hand, has succeeded only at the high-end of the market.

"In the future, the Thinkpad is going to participate in the whole market, and while we are carefully evaluating it segment by segment, we are concentrating on going from the high-end of the to the next high-volume segment. We believe it will emerge in the below US$2000 price bracket," Larsen says.

IBM has under wraps a multimedia ThinkPad aimed at the entry-level segment of the market, Larsen says.

He tips real-time video links on mobile computers as the next exciting technology. "Intel's Phone software will be bundled with Windows 95, and the question is how are we going to utilise that.

"Video conferencing will be an important application in 1997 and I think it is the right technology to be talking about. I think it will have the biggest impact on the way we do business since the introduction of the fax. Overall, the Internet has introduced a discontinuity to the regular way of doing things," says Larsen.

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