The offer appears to be competitive and could trigger price cuts by other memory vendors. Already, mail-order houses such as Insight Enterprises sell 32MB memory modules for as low as $209 for Compaq, IBM, and Hewlett-Packard machines.
More memory can make PCs run faster, particularly when using memory-hungry multimedia software, operating systems like Microsoft's Windows 95, and Web browsers like Netscape Communications' Navigator.
The offer is targeted at the corporate market, where Kingston said more than two-thirds of existing PCs run a 486 or earlier microprocessor with 8MB or less of memory.
The program, offered through May 31, is open to all users of Microsoft software in the United States and Canada. The $199 offer is for most desktop systems but not portables. Prices on parity memory, error-correcting code (ECC) memory, server memory, workstation memory, dual in-line memory modules (DIMMs), and other specialty memory may vary.
Kingston Technology, which sold 80 percent of the company last year to Japan's Softbank, manufactures and distributes more than 1,200 memory modules for more than 3,000 computers. Its 1996 sales exceeded $1 billion.