The downward pressure on the price of notebook computers shows no sign of letting up. AST has entered into another round of price cutting and aggressive marketing following accusations of stock dumping (PC Dealer, 1 May) as it attempts to increase its market share.
Following the launch of its range of Ascentia P notebooks, AST has cut between five per cent and 12 per cent off the price of the previous Ascentia J range. The company has set aside u200,000 for a four-week-long advertising campaign running in the national newspapers.
While AST is proud of its boast that it is always quick to market with new technology, this is a practice which can lead to some of its channel partners being left with old stock. Con Mallon, AST marketing manager, said: 'We are adopting a very high-profile approach to marketing AST and we feel it is working well on all levels; we've had good response from users and the channel alike. Talk of product being stuck in the channel may be true in part, but we feel this is unlikely to reflect the position of AST notebooks.'
AST admits it is going head-to-head with Dell, which it sees as an obvious competitor, but is now targeting other notebook manufacturers, such as Toshiba, which have had recent problems in meeting demand. An AST source described the situation as the company experiencing a 'following wind, with competitors now stumbling and bumbling around.'
AST has stated that the next phase of its business plan will be to begin working on its range of servers with new products to be expected within the next two months.
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