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September 23, 1999
Exclusive! Dishnet to offer Rs 25,000 PCPriya Ganapati at Pragati Maidan
Dishnet, an enterprise of Sterling Infotech Limited, has ISP operations in Pune and Madras under the brand name ETH, or Education to Home.
The company now plans to launch a PC called 'Emily' for around Rs 25,000 by November.
Dishnet Managing Director Prakash Arya told Rediff "We hope to have a PC at around this price range. We have decided that we will not cross this Rs 25,000 barrier."
The Rs 25,000 price tag is inclusive of a 14-inch colour monitor. Emily will be shipped with the Windows operating system and will sport a host of bundled software like anti-virus packages and games.
However, in an Intel dominated market the Emily might have to work hard to convince buyers about its AMD K62 500 MHz processor.
Arya is not perturbed with the strong branding that Intel has in India. Any protest that a PC with a non-Intel processor will find it difficult to take off is waved off.
Arya strongly discounts the theory. "This idea is only prevalent among the high end users who want Intel processors for their PCs. It is proven that AMD processors are as good as Intel's. It is only because of the heavy advertising and hype of the 'Intel Inside' campaign that consumers have greater awareness about Intel's range of processors," he says.
Emily will have an AMD K2 processor, 32 MB RAM, 2.1 GB hard disk, 40X CD-ROM and will be multimedia enabled with a sound and a graphics card.
"The AMD processor is as powerful as a Pentium III processor and is preferred by many consumers throughout the world. In fact over 40 per cent of the sales of major PC sellers like Compaq and Dell are of non-Intel processors. And among them AMD takes the lead," Arya claims.
Emily's nearest competitor in the Indian market would be Zenith that offers an Intel Celeron processor based PC for Rs 29,990 plus taxes. Zenith bundles 100 hours of Internet connections free with some of its PCs.
Arya hopes to match Zenith's offer. "We will definitely give an Internet-ready PC to our consumers. However, we have not decided how many hours of Internet access time will be offered to our customers," he reveals.
The PCs are being manufactured by a Taiwanese company and they will be imported into the country by Dishnet.
Since a completely assembled PC would be imported it would lead to imposition of stiff duties on the product.
Despite this, Arya is convinced that the duties would not raise the price of Emily beyond Rs 25,000. "The final price of the product has not been decided yet. This is because the price will depend on the duties that might change with the installation of a new government. But we will soon work out our pricing strategy. But one thing is for sure. The price will not cross Rs 25,000," he assures.
Dishnet will offer after sales service itself. The company plans to tie up with a team of resellers who will take care of any service problems.
However, Arya is confident that there will be no problems in the first place.
"This is a very sturdy kind of PC with a good configuration. We have tried and tested it. And it is a very good one. So I don't think there will be any complaints," he claims.
Dishnet is negotiating with Microsoft so that it can sell the PCs with a legal Windows operating system.
But Arya has strong critics. Industry veterans accuse the Sterling Group of crashing prices in any segment that they venture into.
The group then sells out the company after changing the rules of the game, making it that much difficult for others to continue in a market where prices have gone completely haywire.
Arya brushes off these allegations. "We are always working in the interests of the consumers. Our chairman, Mr Sivasankaran is good at working out deals with our partners. So we always get the best deals at the lowest prices. Also we operate on volumes and not on margins," he defends.
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