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IBM Cheapest For Most Users, Survey Says

August 14, 1987

NEW YORK (AP) _ Contrary to its pricey image, International Business Machines Corp. offers the lowest cost of ownership of four major companies that sell departmental computer systems, a study says.

IBM products are the best buy for systems that handle four, eight, 16 or 32 users, according to the Sierra Group of Tempe, Ariz. Data General Corp. is the most economical for 50- and 100-user systems, Sierra Group said this week.

Digital Equipment Corp. was typically the most expensive of the four companies studied, with Wang Laboratories Inc. falling in the middle, Sierra said. Hewlett-Packard Co. declined to participate.

Although casual observers focus on cost, Sierra’s survey found the biggest differences were in charges for maintenance and upgrading of software.

″The battle between DEC and IBM may, ultimately, be fought more over price than products,″ Marty Gruhn, a Sierra Group vice president, said in a news release. ″Here, IBM appears to have the upper hand.″

The gap between the most and least expensive computer systems for 100 users, for example, was about $500,000.

The Sierra Group is a research firm serving computer makers and buyers.

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