March 14, 1997 1:45 PM ET
MMX grabs share in January retail sales
By Margaret Kane

  MMX-based machines took off like a rocket at retail outlets in January, according to a study due next week from Computer Intelligence.

The La Jolla, Calif., researcher found that sales of the Intel Corp. systems accounted for 27 percent (or more than 60,000 units) of all retail desktop sales during the month.

Many retailers had attributed slow PC sales during last Christmas season to users waiting for the new chip. Intel released the multimedia-enhancing chip in January.

"[The MMX] success in just the initial few weeks of sales bodes well for a round of upgrade purchases by consumers through the spring," said CI analyst Dave Tremblay.

Among the manufacturers who benefited from aggressive marketing of their new MMX machines were Compaq Computer Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., Packard Bell NEC Inc. and IBM, according to CI.

According to the study, HP sold more MMX-based machines than standard Pentium systems.

While MMX machines have grabbed their share of the retail market, they haven't spurred overall PC purchases. According to Tremblay, the total volume of PCs sold in retail channels in January was approximately 240,000, slightly lower than last year.

"Whether it would have been lower without MMX or not, you don't know," he said. "But one thing I found impressive is that it wasn't instantaneously available and yet still had these kinds of volumes."

Computer Intelligence is a division of Ziff-Davis Publishing Co., the publisher of PC Week and PC Week Online. It can be reached at www.ci.zd.com.

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