MPC Expands Beyond The Desktop

PC maker readies a full court press with servers, laptops and storage for mid-size business and government agencies.

LAS VEGAS—For MPC Computers LLC, the story line is rapidly becoming more than simply computers.

Less than two years ago, the company—formerly MicronPC—was bleeding money. But it recently wrapped up its sixth consecutive profitable quarter since being acquired by the Gores Technology Group, and is using the money its earning to quickly expand its product offerings beyond the desktop.

Most significantly, the Nampa, Idaho, company will have a complete line of storage products by the end of the current quarter, and this month a laptop offering based on Intel Corp.s recently released Centrino mobile computing package.

In an interview at the Networld+Interop conference here this week, MPC officials also said they will continue to expand their rejuvenated server offerings as that product line comes in sync with Intels upgrade cycle.

And while the company will continue upgrading its enterprise ClientPro desktops to keep up with Intel technology, MPC officials expect PCs to incrementally become a smaller part of the companys overall portfolio.

MPCs move away from PCs is similar to what Gateway Inc. is trying accomplish as it expands its non-desktop offerings, such as servers and plasma TVs.

But while Gateway continues to find its way, MPC officials say they are moving down a well-defined path that includes a narrow target segment—mid-sized businesses with 500 to 3,000 employees and governmental agencies—and service and support that they say differentiates MPC from its primary competitor, Dell Computer Corp. For example, MPC assigns a dedicated support staff member to each customer, so that users are always talking to the same person when problems arise.