The Pc Battle May Be Bloodless

Price war! Or maybe not. At first glance, IBM's personal-computer price cuts of up to 27%, announced on Aug. 24, seemed likely to fuel industrywide slashing, coming a week after a similar gambit by Compaq Computer. But these combatants may not shed much blood after all. Average PC prices have stayed within 5% of $2,000 for six straight quarters, and makers cut prices every year before introducing new models for the Christmas quarter. The real slashing may come next year, when Compaq is expected to push sub-$1,000 multimedia machines. "I have no doubt that Compaq controls pricing in the industry," says Dataquest analyst Kimball Brown.

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