Toshiba, others drop PC prices further

Toshiba offers business PCs discounted by $500, while a New York reseller offers Compaqs for $599. Acer says it will double its retails sales owing to lower prices.

Michael Kanellos
Michael Kanellos Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Michael Kanellos is editor at large at CNET News.com, where he covers hardware, research and development, start-ups and the tech industry overseas.
2 min read
Low-price madness continues to grip the industry.

Toshiba Computer Systems is offering business desktop models for close to $500 below current prices through select electronic resellers, while Acer has released a report that states the company will come close to doubling its retail sales in the second half of the year, a surge attributed to lower prices.

Meanwhile, a New York retailer is giving away $200 gift certificates with the sale of certain computers, a promotion that brings the cost of certain Compaq Presarios down to $599.

Toshiba is currently offering two of its Equium computers for approximately $500 less than the normal retail price through select electronic resellers, said Mike Wagner, director of commercial desktops at Toshiba. The effort, aimed at attracting small business users, is seen as a way to tweak the direct mail vendors.

"It's a special price," he said, "We're trying to get the people that would ordinarily buy from Dell or Gateway 2000."

The Equium 5160 is selling for $899 through electronic retailers such as CDW. The computer comes with a 166-MHz Pentium MMX, 32MB of memory, and a 2.1GB hard drive. Elsewhere, it sells for $1,249.

The Equium 5200 is selling for $949 on the electronic sites, down from the retail price of $1,449. The computer comes with a 200-MHz Pentium MMX, a CD-ROM drive, a 2.5GB hard drive, and 32MB of memory.

Sales of these models are going through the roof, Wagner said. The special price will only last until January 1.

Acer for its part has released a report that says sales of its retail systems will double in the second half of the year due to price cuts.

"There is an untapped market of consumers who do not own home computers," said Michael Culver, vice president and general manger, consumer products division at Acer. "Consumers have responded, sending a clear message about their computing needs and the value they expect."

The company predicted that it would sell close to 100,000 retail units during the fourth quarter. So far, two-thirds of the computers sold in the quarter fall in the sub-$1,000 category. Many of these sales have come through Wal-Mart and Sears, both of which became Acer sales outlets recently.

Meanwhile, J & R Computer World is offering a $200 gift certificate with the purchase of select Intel-based computers, a deal which drags prices to new lows. The certificate can be used on the purchase of the computer.

The Compaq Presario 2200, which comes with a Cyrix Media GX processor, for example, is retailing for $799 at J & R. With the gift certificate, it drops to $599. The Hewlett-Packard Pavilion 3100, with gift certificate, drops to $799. A The Pavilion 3100 comes with a 166-MHz Pentium MMX. A similarly configured Compaq Presairo 4505 sells for the same.

"The deal only goes for seven more days, " a J & R sales representative said.