New Ownership Buoys MPC

Buoyed by greater access to cash following its recent acquisition, MPC is expanding its product road map with a focus on servers, storage and mobile computing.

MPC Computers LLC is ready to grow again.

For four years, the Nampa, Idaho, company worked to restructure its business after private investment company Gores Technology Group LLC bought it from parent company Micron Technology Inc.

Now, buoyed by greater access to cash since its purchase in March by HyperSpace Communications Inc., a publicly traded software company in Greenwood Village, Colo., MPC is beginning to piece together a product road map designed to expand what it offers and the markets in which it does business. Much of the focus going forward will be on servers, storage and mobile computing, company officials said.

A longtime user of Intel Corp.s processors, MPC is outfitting its 1U (1.75 inches) NetFrame 1720 server with the chip makers new dual-core Xeon processor and will do the same with the rest of the NetFrame server line next year.

However, MPC officials said they are in early talks with Intel rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc., and could begin rolling out servers powered by AMDs Opteron chips next year. MPC also is evaluating blade computers and offering inexpensive servers with select applications preloaded.

In its DataFrame storage business, the company later this quarter will expand its product line by offering a 1U, 1TB appliance and in mid-2006 will roll out a 2U (3.5 inches) storage device.

On the client side, MPC will upgrade its ClientPro 414 All-in-One desktop and is considering entering the PC blade space, officials said.

In addition, while government business makes up about half of MPCs revenues, the company will focus more on SMBs (small and midsize businesses), whose buying patterns are less cyclical in nature than those of government and education, officials said.

Industry observers said MPC made impressive strides after Gores acquired it from a troubled Micron in 2001. "They have been a remarkable story of survival," said Roger Kay, president of analyst company Endpoint Technologies Associates Inc., in Wayland, Mass. "They were slated for the trash heap a while ago."

What MPC was able to do was regroup under Gores and rely on its own federal government business, Kay said. MPC officials said Gores allowed them to restructure. After the sale, MPC scaled back its offerings but then slowly began to grow its product portfolio, including relaunching the NetFrame server line late in 2001 and entering the storage business in 2003.

/zimages/2/28571.gifMPC rolls out new four-way server. Click here to read more.

Terry Claypool, IS operations manager for The State Journal-Register, a newspaper in Springfield, Ill., said it was important when MPC began offering servers again. "Its good for someone like us to have one place to go [for our hardware], so we dont have to get our desktops from MPC and our servers from someone else, like [Hewlett-Packard Co.]," Claypool said.

AudioScribe Corp., in Breaux Bridge, La., and sister company CBM (Computers for Business Management) Technology, also in Breaux Bridge, both resell MPC products and use them in-house, said Tye Miller, vice president with both companies. Miller said MPCs product quality and service have been key differentiators. He also said the vendors future directions, including possibly adopting the Opteron chip, make sense.

"AMD has always been seen as the new guy, and when they came out with technology, Intel had to match it," Miller said. "[Intel was] the big guy, and they matched it. But with this new [dual-core] technology coming out ... it might be the right product."

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