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MMX not moving in Japan

Personal computers using Intel's MMX Pentium processors are not faring too well in Japan, the second-largest computer market in the world.

Personal computers using Intel's (INTC) MMX Pentium processors are not faring too well in Japan, the second-largest computer market in the world.

MMX PCs became available in Japan in early January from vendors such as IBM Japan and Toshiba but have not met sales expectations, according to a report in Nikkei Personal Computing, a major computer periodical in Japan.

The report cites problems associated with delays in shipments of MMX Pentium-based PCs, a lack of software which takes advantage of MMX technology, and the high cost of systems using MMX chips.

Even by mid-February, few MMX-equipped machines were seen at the big PC stores in Tokyo, according to the report.

Systems with MMX Pentiums were expected to drive sales at the beginning of this year for companies like Toshiba, but this isn't happening since delays pushed the introduction date into January, which is a tepid sales month in Japan. Depressed sales are also being exacerbated by delays in offering DVD drives, the report said.

Moreover, market leader NEC intentionally postponed sales of MMX Pentium machines until the latter part of January; Fujitsu delayed sales even more--not offering anything until mid-February, the report added.

One major retail store claimed that it was not selling many MMX systems because it has not received the full line of MMX machines from vendors yet. For the ones it does have, the price is appreciably higher than the "classic" Pentium machines.

(Intel is an investor in CNET: The Computer Network.)