Power Computing pursues fed market with Mac clones

Power Computing Corp. is targeting federal users with a new line of midrange Apple Computer Inc. Macintosh-compatible systems and has signed three resellers to help move its products.

Power Computing announced its PowerCenter Pro 210 and PowerCenter Pro 180 systems which feature 604e PowerPC chips running at 210 MHz and 180 MHz. The products will be available next month with commercial prices starting at $2 095.

Officials at the Round Rock Texas-based firm said the federal government is a key market for the company which was founded in late 1993 to manufacture Mac OS-compatible PCs. "The federal market is very important to us at a time when Apple is retrenching " said Mike Rosenfelt director of marketing at Power Computing.

Rosenfelt said Power Computing will sell into traditional Mac strongholds such as publishing and in general pursue opportunities within the government's installed base of Macs. To help with this push Power Computing has signed Government Technology Services Inc. Federal Data Corp. and McBride & Associates Inc. as resellers. Those companies will carry Power Computing products on the General Services Administration schedule.

Although Power Computing will market through resellers the company will ship products directly to federal customers. Power Computing is modeling its build-to-ship direct-manufacturing strategy after Dell's PC business. The company has hired several Dell executives some of whom are working in government marketing. Power Computing for example tapped AnnMarie Randall Dell's former public-sector vice president as its public-sector strategist.

Rosenfelt said the PowerCenter Pro line would likely be the company's "sweet-spot product" in the federal market due to the line's price/performance.

But Power Computing also will offer federal customers its entry-level PowerBase PCs which start at less than $2 000 and high-end PowerTower Pro systems which operate at up to 250 MHz and start at about $2 700.

Power Computing resellers said they believe the company offers a price/performance edge over Apple machines.

"They provide excellent price/performance - the thing that has always been a knock on Apple " added Mark Kennedy product manager for Apple and Power Computing products at GTSI. He added that the PowerPC 604e chip employed in Power Computing products also outperforms Intel Corp.'s Pentium Pro processor.

Apple two weeks ago also announced a system using the 604e chip. The Power Macintosh 7300/180 PC Compatible features a 180 MHz 604e and a 166 MHz Pentium processor. The product is geared toward education and business users who need to run Mac and Windows applications.

GTSI currently offers PowerBase and PowerTower products on its GSA schedule and plans to add the PowerCenter Pro models by April 15.

"They have an excellent product that offers the federal consumer a choice over and above what is available from Apple " added Norman Chung vice president of complex systems at McBride & Associates which will offer Power Computing's entire product line on its GSA schedule.

Power Computing's PowerCenter Pro for example offers 60 MHz bus technology and a 1M Level 2 cache both of which are exclusive to Power Computing in the Mac market according to company officials.

Other standard features include 3-D graphics acceleration a 16X CD-ROM drive 16M of RAM a 2G hard drive dual SCSI buses three PCI slots and on-board 10Base-T Ethernet with both AAUI and RJ-45 connectors.v

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