Last week's announcement of a new integrated computer processor by National Semiconductor means that computers will very likely sell for less than $500 in the near future. An April 6 news release from the company states that the new processor, commonly called a 'chip,' will substantially lower prices for new computers while improving their performance.
The new chip is more powerful because it integrates several functions that are presently done by a number of separate chips in a personal computer, including communications, graphics and memory control. Its overall speed is expected to be greater than 300 megahertz, as fast as today's newest computers.
A National Semiconductor executive stated that brand name computer manufacturers will be able to produce computers that retail for $499 in 1999, while discount computer manufacturers may be selling machines for as little as $299.
The introduction of this new technology is expected to result in a major growth in the sale of entry-level computers, i.e., machines purchased by first-time buyers. The use of the computer, and consequently the Internet, is expected to expand rapidly in the next several years as this chip is mass produced.
Monopoly in the computer software industry - The Microsoft case
[15 April 1998]