IBM, in its first significant PC announcement in a year, will introduce five new ThinkPads and three new NetVista models on Tuesday, according to sources close to the company.
Just as important, IBM PC Division general manager Jon Judge, the sources said, will try to dispel rumors that IBM might be exiting the PC business. "Youre not going to see a big product announcement like this if the company is getting out of that business," one source said.
An IBM spokesman declined to comment.
The announcement will feature a new security chip on the Thinkpad motherboard that discourages would-be thieves. Whats more they will come standard with wireless Ethernet capability.
Sources said the units fill in gaps in IBM existing "A, T and X" series of Thinkpads, but they could also supplant existing models. Each series has "economy, value and performance" models currently and across the board, they range in price from $1,299 to $3,149. None of the new Thinkpads will break the $1,000 barrier, the source said.
Also on tap are three new NetVista desktop models. The most distinguishing features in those, sources said, will be a new systems management technology that IBM has not talked about before. The source declined to elaborate.
All the models are "primarily" aimed at business users, the sources said.
IBMs second quarter market share in the U.S. has plunged 10.6% in the past year to 6.1%, according to IDC. That compares with 24% for Dell; 12.7% for Compaq; 9.4% for H-P; and 7.6% for Gateway.