Umax will be the first company to sell computers directly to customers who use both the Windows and Mac operating systems. A division of the company already sells Macintosh clones through retail outlets.
In documents related to its initial public offering filed earlier this month, Power Computing said it wants to market both Macintosh and Windows-compatible systems through direct sales to customers. Power Computing has been working to convince customers that selling Windows NT servers and desktops along with Macintosh clones will ease the integration of Macs into mixed networks.
Umax Technologies will follow a similar strategy as it targets graphics professionals where companies are already planning to move from Mac systems to Windows-based systems.
"We are trying to avoid getting people to switch from Macs. We want [Apple] to keep doing well. [But] we recognize that...there are people who want a PC, and we want to provide an alternative for those who are already going to use a PC. It's almost like making a Mac using Intel parts," according to Hugh Bethell, a spokesperson for Umax Technologies.
But Umax won't stop there. "We will definitely be adding NT servers to the Umax line," Bethell said. The company will likely add the Intel-based Windows NT servers that hook up to their UmaxStation or Umax Mac clones, he added.
As a newcomer to the PC market, the company will be facing formidable competition from direct-marketing giants Dell Computer and Gateway 2000. The company is also entering the market at a time when Compaq Computer and Hewlett-Packard are steeply cutting prices to keep up with the direct sellers.
Umax says it doesn't intend to compete head to head with Dell and Gateway; instead, it plans to take advantage of its name recognition in the graphics professionals market gained from selling computer peripheral devices to these customers. Also, another division of the parent company, Umax Data Systems, is a large supplier of Intel-based motherboards, so the company is experienced in the kind of competition facing clone makers in the PC market.
Umax says the systems will come in five initial configurations. All will have 266-MHz Pentium II processors, DVD- or CD-ROM drives, and high-end graphics accelerator cards.
The UmaxStation 6000 with 32MB of memory, a 4GB hard drive and 17-inch monitor will be priced at $3,295, for example. The top-of-the-line UmaxStation 9300 will come with 128MB of memory, 9GB hard drive, and a 21-inch monitor for $7,995. The company says it will include free scanners with UmaxStation systems purchased by August 15, 1997.
The UmaxPC systems feature either a 200-MHz Pentium processor with MMX technology, 24X CD-ROM drive, 32MB to 64MB of memory, and a 100MB Zip drive. Three models will initially be offered at prices from $1,995 to $2,795.