The battle between vendors over high-end notebook market share is set to grow this year as NEC claimed Compaq was losing market share while IBM readied an ultra-thin offering as its secret weapon.
Graeme Simons, European product marketing manager at NEC, said: 'Compaq is losing market share at the high end because it is concentrating on the consumer market. It's clear it doesn't have the technology to create ultra-thin notebooks.' Romtec's latest figures for the indirect channel to December 1995 show Toshiba holding 39 per cent of the market in units. Compaq has 19 per cent market share while IBM is not far behind at 14 per cent. Digital, Acer, HP and NEC only hold two per cent share. Two years ago, Toshiba and Compaq were level-pegging.
In the previous year, Compaq had 19.5 per cent of the market while IBM only had 11 per cent. But Big Blue has gained at the high end while Compaq has sold more low-end notebooks.
Simons said that Compaq's LTE 5000, plagued by technical difficulties, had lost market share to both Toshiba and IBM in 1995. 'The LTE 5000 is bought-in technology from Inventech in Taiwan.' The IBM ultra-thin range, codenamed Kite, will feature super-thin hard drives, a magnesium casing and is likely to have an A4, lightweight form factor, according to sources at IBM US. It will include IBM's latest keyboard technology, appear in May and supplant the Butterfly range.
While Compaq does not have its own ultra-thin technology, market leader Toshiba does. But a source at the company said that a high-ranking Japanese executive had blocked the release of the technology.
Compaq will drop the price of its notebooks this week, a representative confirmed.
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