The UK retail computer industry faces gloomy times ahead, with effectively zero growth this year, a leading vendor claims.
Jon Harris, managing director of Opus Technology/Tiny Computers, said overstocking at Christmas had made an already tough market worse.
He blamed Intel for leaking the launch of MMX chips and the BBC for advising viewers to wait for this technology to hit the shops. This left many retailers with what consumers saw as outdated stock.
Harris credited Tiny?s system of building to order for the firm?s escape from this trap.
He compared the speed of change in the market to selling bananas. ?If they were not green when they arrived in the shop, you would never be able to sell them before they go off,? he said, adding that the speed of hardware evolution was such that PC retailers need many of the same skills as greengrocers.
According to Harris, most households would have two PCs in the future ? one for entertainment and one for traditional PC uses like wordprocessing.
He predicted PCs will absorb stereos, videos, answering machines and phones, and that this integration will result in greater competition. Vendors would face a bisected market, selling either vanilla PCs and NT products or home entertainment boxes containing home cinema and games.
Harris was speaking at the launch of two Tiny products. The first, the Home Studio PC, is bundled with an Olympus digital camera for #1,399. The second is a PC with digital video camera and software that allows it to be used as a video phone. It costs #1,499.
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