New NEC PCs take off in Japan

In Japan, boxes based on the Microsoft-Intel platform are dramatically outselling computers based on NEC's proprietary architecture.

NEC said PCs based on the industry-standard Intel-Windows platform are dramatically outselling PCs based on its proprietary architecture, just five weeks after their introduction.

NEC shipped 390,000 PC98-NX models from the time of the series' debut in late October through the end of November, and only 124,000 PC-9800 models, according to a report in the online edition of Nikkei Business Publications.

The company's total PC shipments for this period were up 11 percent compared to year-ago figures, healthy growth in an industry that's been reeling. Preliminary figures show the Japanese PC market contracted during the third quarter of 1997. NEC enjoyed double-digit growth in the first half of the year.

The PC98-NX series utilizes Intel microprocessors and Microsoft's Windows operating system in a conventional format, so that the machines are compatible with PCs and servers made by other manufacturers. The PC-9800 series also utilizes Pentium chips and Windows, but rests on a unique architecture.

In recent years the company has come under increasing pressure as competitors such as Fujitsu have gained significant market share at NEC's expense by selling PCs based on the standard Windows-Intel paradigm. IBM Japan, which also sells industry-standard PCs, is another major force in Japan. NEC is the Asian country's leading PC manufacturer.