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Quake ripples and Rambus fiasco hit Dell, HP

It appears there's a slight snag to short inventory tails...

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Although Taiwanese production is now coming back on-stream after the quake, knock-on supply disruption is causing problems for some PC manufacturers. On top of this, the Rambus fiasco also looks like messing up the supply chain. Analysts think Dell has been hit by what you might call Compaq's Revenge. One of Dell's advantages against other PC manufacturers has historically been its build to order model and the short inventory tail associated with it. But go figure - if you don't have a large components inventory, and a prime source of components like Taiwan is knocked out of production for two weeks (the most conservative estimate) then you've probably got trouble. On Friday several analysts warned that Dell might not make its Q3 targets, because of the Taiwan problems, and also noted that the rise in DRAM prices would hit the company disproportionately, as it has several large customers on fixed price deals, and is therefore unable to increase prices to these. Dell itself says it's not yet sure what the quake impact is likely to be. The Register notes that according to a form 144 released by the SEC on Friday, Dell vice chair Mort Topfer had intended to sell 1 million shares on 27 September. HP president Carly Fiorina is more definite about disruption caused by the quake, and on Friday warned of "disruption and delay in some elements of our PC supply chain." At the moment HP is getting supplies, but it and its suppliers are worried about making targets over the next few weeks, particularly as regards ASICs used in HP notebooks. The company is also worried about memory supplies. As well it might be. The Register can't help noticing that the monthly pubs currently hitting the streets include reviews (jolly good ones, too) of HP's new box based on the er, Intel i820. Companies who'd had a commitment to Rambus (hello HP, Compaq, Dell) are having to make a handbrake turn over this one. Lucky old Via. ®

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