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|March 10, 1998||
A monitor's not a computer, Stupid
HCL, the Indian desktop personal computer maker is sore at Compaq's latest Deskpro 1000 offer.
When Compaq advertised Pentium processor based PCs for less than Rs 40,000, its competitors in India were shocked.
Then a close look at the fine print revealed the truth. The Compaq price did
HCL immediately cried foul. It is now abusing Compaq openly for its campaign, which it calls misleading.
HCL Infosystems spokesperson Sharad Talwar is reported to have said, "We are trying to prevent what may become a trend. Today, the fine print in Compaq's advertisement says the monitor comes at an extra price, tomorrow it may be the hard disk or the CD-ROM."
Talwar extrapolates the argument: "Then obviously, the dealer will have the choice of pushing the monitor brand that he wants to. Any cheap one would then do for the customer. The dealer may even claim that all companies advertise prices that do not include the monitor which is not the case at all."
The recent price war among desktop personal computer makers is now nearing a desperate tone, given the high price sensitivity of the Indian market.
Though HCL may emerge on a higher moral ground in the eyes of the customer, Compaq has one more thing to worry about.
Already there are complaints that the Deskpro 1000 is not to be found on Compaq's Web site. Industry sources doubt that the model has been phased out and the product is being dumped in price-sensitive India from the pileup in the Southeast Asian markets.
Compaq India Managing Director Abhishek Mukherjee is unfazed: "In India there is a large segment of the market comprising extremely price-conscious buyers who we have not addressed in the past. The Deskpro 1000 will prove attractive here."
He insists that the price quotation, which does not include the monitor, is not a cheap trick but in keeping with international conventions.
"Deskpro 1000 is a new product which Compaq introduced last week. It is available in other parts of the Asia-Pacific region, the Americas and Europe. The price makes it especially suitable for fast growing markets," he said.
Sameer Kochhar, managing director of Skoch Consultancy, is reported to have said about the PC business in India that "January and February were a washout. March alone cannot do much to salvage what has been lost. But price drops have been imminent and expected for some time now."
Skoch has predicted a drop in PC sales in the year ending March 1998, compared with the same period in the previous year.
- Compiled from the Indian media
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