IBM ends Ambra PC range in Europe: Computer giant takes advantage of market share to shelve subsidiary

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The Independent Online
IBM is to abandon its low-cost personal computer, the Ambra, in the European market less than two years after its launch.

The company said increased sales of its IBM-brand machines at the cheaper end of the market had overtaken Ambra, which does not carry IBM's name, and the IBM machines would now be the focus of marketing.

Individual Computer Products International, the London-based subsidiary set up to market the Ambra range, will be closed with the loss of 64 jobs. IBM said that all but four people are contractual staff and that the four IBM employees will be offered jobs within the group. The Ambra range in the US, sold directly by IBM, will not be affected.

The Ambra was launched to fend off competition from IBM 'clones' but analysts say buyers are now showing a preference for known brands.

IBM-branded personal computers, including ValuePoint, PS/1 and ThinkPad, have been selling well in recent months.

The price difference between Ambra and other IBM machines has also narrowed. An Ambra based on the 486 computer chip costs pounds 869, compared with pounds 899 for a Valuepoint and about pounds 950 for a PS/1.

According to Dataquest, the market research firm, IBM had 14 per cent of European personal computer sales in the fourth quarter of 1993 and more than 12 per cent over the year, making it market leader.

Apple and Compaq were next with shares of 11 per cent and 10 per cent respectively. Ambra had gained a 1 per cent share since June 1992.