Dell is cutting laptop prices for the second time in less than a month, as notebook prices are set for a downward spiral that is predicted to get worse in 1998.
Peter Watts, Dell notebook product marketing manager, denied the vendor was reacting to other major players, including Compaq, Toshiba and IBM, which cut prices after the new year. The price of Dell's Latitude CP 233 range has been reduced by up to 19 per cent.
Watts said: 'Components are cheaper and the move is partly a response to Intel price cuts.'
Katherine Sharp, business manager for IBM Thinkpads, said IBM will announce price cuts across its Thinkpad range on 9 February.
Dave Matthews, Compaq senior product manager for portables, claimed Dell's latest move was a response to Compaq, which announced reductions of up to 25 per cent last month.
He added: 'Our price cuts mean the real street price of our laptops is comparable. But we want to maintain competitive price leadership, so if we need to cut prices again, we will.'
Analysts predicted that although the January sales have finished, the price war is not over. Howard Seabrook, research director for The Gartner Group, said: 'Vendors have regained costs from the beginning of product lifecycles on things like case-design and tooling. Toshiba and Dell are platforming to get aggressive on pricing.'
He pointed out that the absence of an imminent big processor kick in notebooks would not keep prices high and added: 'We are likely to see more pressure on notebook prices this year, tougher than 1997.'
Toshiba, which slashed prices in January, was due to announce minor price adjustments in its notebook product range on 9 February, but stressed it was not entering a price war.
Murray McKurlie, Toshiba product marketing manager, said: 'We are not responding to Dell, but being aggressive in our own way in this market segment.'
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