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Whitebox falls further behind

Whitebox falls further behind

Whitebox share of the local desktop PC market has fallen to a new low, representing just 42.6 per cent of sales in Q4.

According to IDC's latest figures, whitebox market share dropped by more than 5 per cent year-on-year, from 47.9 per cent in Q4, 2005. It also fell sequentially from 44.4 per cent in Q3. PC analyst, Liam Gunson, said desktop PC growth had slowed during Q4 due to strong notebook take-up in the consumer sector. The traditional IT channel had also reduced its stock inventory in preparation for the release of Windows Vista.

He claimed local builders were feeling the market pinch the most. Gunson said local builders, ASI Solutions and Optima, had also experienced a drop in shipments as a result of losing their place on the Queensland Department of Education, Training and the Arts desktop PC panel in October.

"These run rate deals are becoming more significant, so the multinationals are going after them aggressively, which is pushing prices down," he said.

The release of IDC's PC figures followed Optima's announcement of a 9 per cent drop in sales in the six months to December 31. The local manufacturer reported revenues of $41.6 million, down from $45.2 million in the corresponding period. It chalked up $29,000 in net profit over the same period.

Chairman and managing director, Cornel Ung, said Optima had retrenched up to 30 of its full-time staff. The company now had 120 full-time employees, as well as 30-40 casual staff. No further staff cuts were planned, he said.

Ung singled out retail as the revenue spoiler. While still selling PCs through the sector, he claimed Optima no longer worked with tier one retailers. Instead, the company continued to focus on its own 3Cshop reseller initiative. Other market segments contributing steady revenue were government and education.

Ung was optimistic about the company's second half results, pointing to a rollout of 4000 PCs for the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority over the next 3-4 months.

Optima is also considering pursuing acquisitions in the retail space. It hoped to make an announcement soon, Ung said.


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