High-profile distributor and OEM PC manufacturer Edge Technology has just entered a major global deal with chip manufacturer National Semiconductor for the supply of Cyrix MII processors.
Peter Lai, vice president of Edge Asia-Pacific, told ARN that the supply deal will represent about $150 million worth of processors a year and be spread throughout the 13 countries where Edge builds PCs.
With an estimated 70 per cent of Edge computers sold in Australia based on the MII processor, the supply arrangement will also consolidate Cyrix's position in the Australian OEM marketplace.
This is especially significant for National Semiconductor as, following the end of the chip manufacturing agreement with IBM, this marks its first major deal with an OEM customer.
It is believed that Edge was IBM's biggest worldwide customer for the MII processor, and Lai indicated that as the processor was identical, it was a natural move, with IBM even assisting with the transition.
Edge Technology is reportedly focused on the highly competitive and price-sensitive small and medium enterprise (SME) and small office/home office (SOHO) markets.
Lai said the company expects to produce 150,000 Cyrix MII-based desktop systems in 12 months, 80 per cent of which are for the OEM market.
That represents a major portion of the non-Intel-based PCs built in Australia every year.
According to National Semi-conductor's Martin Kidgell, VP and managing director for the Asia-Pacific: "The issue of price and performance is very important in the SME and SOHO markets.
"The Cyrix MII processor delivers Pentium II-class performance at a more affordable price-point for OEMs."
Lai projects that 65 per cent of its global PC sales in the SME and SOHO markets be non-Intel processor-based by the end of 1999.
"Given our well-established sales record and customer base with systems using IBM manufactured MII processors, it was a natural choice to move to the National Semiconductor-built Cyrix MIIs."
The supply arrangement is effective immediately, as stocks of the IBM manufactured Cyrix MII processor are exhausted, and Lai claims National Semi-conductor-made processors are already in hand.