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Digital Equipment Corp : Vaxstation , Decstation Prices to Slip

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ComputerWorld July 23 , 1990
Vol XXIV No 30
The Newsweekly of Information Systems Management

Vaxstation , Decstation prices to slip

By Maura J. Harrington

An announcement by Digital Equipment Corp. last week that it will cut prices on its low-end Vaxstation and Decstation 2100 and 3100 workstations among other products, is yet another symbol of the volatility and competitiveness of the workstation market , analysts said.

"It used to be you could anticipate workstation prices on an annual basis. Now , you can't even go on vacation without a change in the market," said Peter Kastner , vice-president of the Aberdeen Group , a market research firm in Boston .

DEC's workstation price cuts - as well as cuts in prices of its memory upgrades , monitos and disk drives for its low end models and bundling of factory installed software in the Vaxstation 3100 - were announced for the VMS and Ultrix product lines , said Chris DeMers , DECS marketing manager for VMS workstation products.

The price-cut announcements included the DEC will reduce the price of its Vaxstation 3100 Model 30 diskless workstation from $ 7,950 to $ 5,950 for the 19 inch monochrome monitor system and from $ 10,950 to $ 8,950 for the 15 inch color monitor system, DeMers said. DEC will also cut pricing on memory upgrades for the Vaxstation and Decstation 2100 and 3100 products to $ 250 per megabyte , DeMers added.

" In all honesty , this really turns out to be a leapfrog (move) in the industry. We really see the workstation industry opening up for us.... and I think that these offering are very competitive ," DeMers said .

While the price cuts may not be considered earth-shaking news to workstation users , analysts said , they represent a necessary strategic move for NEC, which is said to be facing more competition than ever since IBM announced its RISC System / 6000 workstation last month.

Chuck Barnet , an analyst at Workgroup Technologies, a market research firm based in Hampton N.H., said DEC, Hewlett-Packard Co. and HP's Apollo division are all likely to lose some of their present market share to IBM's RS/6000.

However IBM probably not leapfrog the two firms in market share by 1993 if DEC and HP as well as it Apollo division continue their competitive strategies , Barney added.

"Workstation prices are falling fast across the board, so really, (vendors) almost have to keep slashing prices to stay in the same arena as their competitors," said Martin Ressinger , a vice-president at Duff& Phelps , Inc. an investement research firm in Chicago.

While the price cuts may seem like just another typical day in the fast-paced workstation arena, Resssinger noted that the market is so competitive that users - faced with price decreases and workstation products coming out almost every month - are no longer taking the first offer that comes along.

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