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Industry at crossroads – PCA report

But speakers have different ideas

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The Personal Computer Association (PCA) held its annual dinner at the Computer Trade Show in Birmingham, with speakers discussing whether the industry is at a crossheads. But opinions differed as to the importance of the Internet for vendors, distributors and dealers. George Evans, MD of Making Markets, which has push technology aimed at dealers, said that the use of the Internet meant that entire business models were turned upside down. He said that his company had experienced 15 minutes of downtime a few weeks ago, and said that such instances cost Making Markets money. Use of Internet technology meant that trading days were like weeks, and trading weeks like months. Rana Mainee, strategic European analyst at chip manufacturer Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), said that experience showed that multifunction devices did not sell. "People never use more than one function," he said. "Most people have the same attitude to software. The mass market demands simple, functioning technology." Mainee said that the mass market was likely to adopt email and similar technology only when the cost of devices was either less than £100 or even free. "If you can get the cost of devices down to below that level or even disposable, that's when you will get mass market penetration," he suggested. "We sell 110 million PCs a year and there are six billion people on the planet," he said. "We haven't even begun yet." Mark Thompson, a mobile product manager at Microsoft UK, said that convergence was likely to be the shape of the future. Devices which were connected to global positioning satellites and fast GSM and other networks would bring unprecedented gains in terms of productivity. The PCA is an industry association with a membership consisting of vendors, distributors and dealers. ®

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