Ast Steps Out Of The Shadows

For more than a decade, AST has been the unassuming plodder of the personal-computer business--a long-distance runner that quietly pressed on no matter how difficult the terrain. Year after year, the clonemaker has been consistently profitable, churning out copies of IBM PCs at discount prices. Although it never achieved the name recognition of Compaq Computer Corp. or the glitzy aura of Apple Computer Inc., it never suffered the public crises that have forced those companies periodically to reinvent themselves. During the protracted PC price wars, AST Research Inc. has gone about its business, slashing prices, squeezing out overhead, and avoiding upheaval. It even managed to move out most of its old management and bring in industry veterans without creating a stir.

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