What happens when parts don't get through

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From tomorrow's Electronic Telegraph:

Computer prices soar after earthquake By Zoe Brennan

COMPUTER prices are about to rise sharply because component suppliers were affected by last month's earthquake in Taiwan.

The cost of computer memory chips, known as RAM, has increased by as much as 50 per cent over the last few weeks, and the prices of computers on sale in the high street chains are expected to rise by hundreds of pounds in the run-up to Christmas.

There has been a spate of panic-buying of computer parts since the earthquake on September 21, which killed more than 2,000. A salesman at Notino computers said: "These memory chips are now like gold dust. We had no inkling that this could happen. Some of these companies have stopped production for weeks now. The prices of the various components are stabilising, but it's too late. It will certainly hit sales over Christmas."

Several manufacturers have already increased their catalogue prices. A Notino desktop computer that was selling for #939 at the time of the earthquake has now been repriced at #1,093, and is expected to go up even more.

An Evesham Voyager portable computer that was on the market for #1,385 at the beginning of October now costs #1,408. It will cost #1,440 by the end of the month and is likely to rise further. Shops are still selling computers from stock at lower prices, but they have been warned by suppliers that new orders are going to be delayed and will have increased in price.

The crisis could not have come at a worse time for traders, who had expected this Christmas to break all records for the computer industry. The Dixons group has sent a team of executives to Taiwan to hunt out supplies of memory and other computer parts to meet the Christmas demand.

Despite taking this action, the company does not expect to able to make its usual Christmas discount price offers aimed at enticing shoppers to buy. David Hamid, the group managing director of PC World, part of the Dixons chain said: "The reductions we had hoped to make in our shops over the Christmas period are now unlikely to happen. Prices will be around #50 higher than they might otherwise have been on a standard computer. We've been able to cushion ourselves against the memory crisis, but some of the smaller suppliers will be hit much harder. They're going to be in trouble."

He said that demand for computers would be high over Christmas despite increased prices. "People have to buy them. Their kids need them, the Internet is exploding at the moment, and it's going to be business as usual."

Computer companies including Apple, Compaq, IBM, Hewlett Packard and Dell are already warning that their products have been affected by the earthquake. Shiwei Liu, managing director of the Taiwan Trade Centre in London said: "The trouble is that the initial shockwaves were followed by power cuts. The government and the private sector are both very concerned about the industry but now our computer companies are getting back on their feet."

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), October 23, 1999


Taiwan continued to have strong earthquakes. Sorry for all the people planning to FOF by buying a new computer "in January."

Buy a new iMac in 3 weeks. The new ones are out, but you want one that comes with OS9 -- just out.

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (allaha@earthlink.net), October 24, 1999.

Old Git: I had to laugh. When I read the title of your post, "What Happens When Parts Don't Get Through" I guess I was thinking it would be a post on some kind of practical/survival post-Y2K issue and was thinking "human" parts. Like maybe what happens if mens thermal bottoms have the fly part sewn up instead of open. When I read your article I cracked up. WHERE oh WHERE is my mind tonight? LOL!

-- preparing (preparing@home.com), October 24, 1999.

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