IBM plans to blitz the small business space with a new small form factor PC it claims is the smallest in the world.
The ThinkCentre S50 ultra small was released in New Zealand this month and, with a smaller footprint than most notebooks, is the ideal product for IBM to court smaller businesses with, says Alan Munro, general manager of IBM’s Australia and New Zealand PC division.
“There is a global trend towards small form factor machines,” Munro says. IBM launched its first small form factor PCs 18 months ago, and they now represent over 60% of its desktop sales in the region. LCD screens make up the same proportion of IBM’s monitor business.
“It’s about giving back the desk top that was [taken] away by earlier computers. The S50 ultra small will drive this trend,” he says.
Munro believes the new machine, which is 35% smaller than the previous model, will make up a significant proportion of the company’s PC sales by the final quarter of this year, especially to small businesses and people working from home.
“IBM will be targeting these markets aggressively and is making investments to drive into those markets in Australia and New Zealand,” he says.
This will include adding staff in both countries, although the number and structure of those additions in New Zealand have not yet been finalised, he adds.
Meanwhile, Karen Vincent, manager of the personal computing division for IBM New Zealand, says the new machine will allow the company to focus on the SMB sector in New Zealand, which is served solely by channel partners.
“We have not played in that market much before and see a lot of growth there, particularly with this product,” she says.
The S50 ultra small will be available across IBM’s general channel, says Vincent.
Despite its size, the compact new machine does not compromise on performance, according to IBM Australia/New Zealand brand manager Erin Mikan, who says the line includes PC management software tools previously available only to corporate users.
“We have honed the tools offered with the machines and the main one that will be key for SMBs is Rescue and Recovery with Rapid Restore.”
This feature, part of a range of IBM ThinkVantage technologies offered on the PCs, is a one-button back-up and recovery tool.
Mikan says the entry-level S50 ultra small features a 3GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, a 40GB hard drive, CD-ROM and an integrated gigabit ethernet connection.
To launch the range, IBM is offering the entry-level machines with a 15-inch TFT monitor at a recommended retail price of $2042 ex GST.