eMachines wins Dixons PC deal

Centerprise switch

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Dixons has switched its main supplier of own-brand Advent PCs from Centerprise to eMachines because of the latter's record on quality.

Dixons' PC World chain has relaunched its Advent PCs this month with a new design and chassis. The range is aimed at confident second time buyers who are comfortable upgrading their machines and PC World MD Simon Turner said it was vital to get a "reliable chassis" for the systems.

Turner said PC World suffered the least calls about faults on its eMachines range but did qualify this by saying eMachine customers "tend not to upgrade, and they don't add software". These two activities are the root of a lot of support calls.

PC World's core range of PC brands are Packard Bell, eMachines, Advent, Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, and Apple. It has exclusive UK sales rights for both eMachines and Packard Bell PCs. (As an indication of DSG's importance in the UK market, Packard Bell is ranked the fifth biggest supplier of PCs in the country).

EMachines, a US maker of bargain basement PCs, yesterday announced Taiwanese mobo maker FIC is to supply it a "significant number of PC systems from its extensive range of products".

In a statement, Wayne Inouye, eMachines CEO, said "eMachines has traditionally targeted the first time PC buyer but we want those customers to keep coming back. Choosing FIC as a business partner means that our customers get a quality product and will want to come back when it's time to upgrade." Which sound as though it was written with the Advent deal in mind.

The new Advent range features a distinctive colour-coordinated metallic blue design, according to the press release, that moves Advent away from the traditional vanilla box format. There's also a new logo and a new website providing technical information and free downloads for Advent owners. A range of redesigned Advent notebooks, and digital projectors will follow the new look desktops.

The entry level Advent will retail at £999. Its specs are Intel Pentium 4 1.9GHz processor; 256Mb DDR RAM; 40Gb hard disk; DVD; CD-RW; 64Mb GeForce2 MX400 graphics card.

PC World launched the Advent brand in 1995 and Centerprise had been the main supplier since then. Speaking last month Centerprise said three per cent of Advent machines are returned in store. Its line was that this included DOAs, but also returns by customers who've seen better deals, or tried some amateur software configuring and cocked things up.

In November 2001 Centerprise founder and MD Rafi Razzak said Advent accounted for less than 50 per cent of Centerprise's turnover. Last month he said he was proud of his company's association with the Advent brand and that he gets annoyed when the products are knocked.

Centerprise also makes the Vulcan brand PCs for John Lewis, and Haus Technologies PCs for Jungle.com. The company also built the Bonsai PCs for the now defunct Tempo electrical goods chain. ®

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