Micro X pursues fed market

During the last four months the federal PC market lost one vendor but picked up another.

In April Austin Computer Systems owned by IPC Technologies Inc. capped off a string of layoffs by dismissing most or all of its sales staff according to people familiar with the company and apparently discontinued product manufacturing and support.

However a number of former Austin executives have surfaced at Micro X Technologies Inc. a 10-year-old PC manufacturer based in Solon Ohio which recently got its first General Services Administration schedule contract. Executives at IPC Technologies could not be reached for comment.

Dave Scull Micro X president and chief executive officer held the top post at Austin between late 1992 and early 1996.

James Hurtado director of government sales for Micro X held the same position at Austin until April.

Micro X which has about 180 employees and expects to earn more than $120 million in revenue this year plans to compete with Dell Computer Corp. Gateway 2000 Inc. and other manufacturers selling turnkey desktop and laptop systems directly to federal agencies.

"Folks like us are not a big company but we are a capable company " Scull said. Because of its size the company is able to respond quickly to changes in technology he said. And because it does not work the reseller channels it can adopt new technologies without fear of disrupting third-party business strategies Scull said.

Micro X expects its strategy to play well in the federal market. In fact the market could account for as much as 30 percent or 35 percent of its overall business by next year the company said.

Payton Smith a research analyst with IDC Government said it is "certainly feasible" for a small direct manufacturer to do business in the federal government. "All you need is a GSA schedule." He said the key to Micro X's success will be its pricing and its "ability to market the products."

The government has made a major shift to direct sales which "is why Dell last year cut everybody off" in PC sales Hurtado said. Micro X believes it can offer agencies the same performance level at a lower price.

Compared with Dell and Gateway products "you are going to find the same if not better components" in Micro X PCs Hurtado said. "And we definitely don't have the [corporate] overhead so my prices are going to be $200 or $300 less."

Micro X has direct relationships with Intel Corp. and other key manufacturers.Micro X is looking to partner with systems integrators - such as BTG Inc. Wang Government Systems Inc. and Sysorex Information Systems Inc. - that need support to fulfill major PC systems-oriented procurements Hurtado said.

The company also has partnered with a number of 8(a) vendors including DC Information Systems Progressive Technology Federal Systems Inc. and Pulsar Data Systems Inc.

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