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India's billion thinks Compaq is DeskPoor

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A year ago From The Register No. 72, 6 April 1998 Compaq’s cheapo PC for second and third world consumers, the DeskPoor 1000, has provoked a heap of indignation in India. The sub-$1,000 200MHZ Pentium PC incorporates obsolete technology, and does not include the price of the keyboard, the mouse and the monitor, critics say. But the outrage is somewhat synthetic. "Obsolete" seems to revolve around an old copy of Windows 95 and the use of EDO RAM, rather than SDRAM. Hardly, a hanging offence, The Register thinks. But by accusing Compaq of "dumping" obsolete technology, the critics are playing up to India’s highly-developed chauvinist sentiments. Compaq’s Indian critics are of course rival PC manufacturers. And they are doing their best to undermine Compaq India’s advertising blitz for the DeskPoor. They say the $995 price point is misleading. Of course it is. But surely, Indian punters can work this one out for themselves. In the UK, a couple of years back, Compaq ran a similar campaign for the sub-£1,000 server, also sans keyboard and monitor. Elonex and other companies complained to the Advertising Standards Authority, the regulator of such matters in the UK. We can’t remember what the outcome was. But we are confident that Compaq had moved onto the next price point, the next campaign, by the time the ASA concluded its deliberations. ®

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