The Oxford-based designers and manufacturers of networks and micros, Research Machines Ltd, which has been so successful in supplying the educational sector, is poised for a market share of the health service. The company sees a potentially large parallel between the recent government White Paper on the health service and the mid-eighties Education Reform Act […]
The Oxford-based designers and manufacturers of networks and micros, Research Machines Ltd, which has been so successful in supplying the educational sector, is poised for a market share of the health service. The company sees a potentially large parallel between the recent government White Paper on the health service and the mid-eighties Education Reform Act which enabled it to get its marketing base. Although it is too soon to talk marketing strategy Research Machines says it is keeping a close eye on how the health service legislation is going, particularly in the local management area. At present the company is rapidly growing with reported pre-tax profits for the last financial year up nearly 70% to UKP2.1m, while turnover also rose by that amount to UKP39m. Research Machines’ two main products are the Nimbus AX 286 and the VX-386 AT-compatible micros. The micros are designed in Oxford and assembled there with the fabrication of the boards being subcontracted out in the UK to companies like Siemens. The machines use Intel processors (aside from the graphics processors which come from the US company Paradise) and chips are bought in from Chips & Technologies. The mid-range AX with a 40Mb drive, running at 20MHz with a standard 1Mb memory costs UKP2,565 and is mainly sold to schools, while an entry level VX running at 16MHz is priced at UKP2,895, with its high end relation, the VX 90/25, retailing for UKP5,750. This latter model is used for high power applications in the graphics and CAD/CAM markets, and Research Machines would like it to be known that it is the second largest UK supplier of the CAD/CAM market after Compaq. In fact 20% of the company’s business comes from dealers in the CAD/CAM area, 10% from government bodies, 30% from colleges, universities and the commercial sector, while 50% of the company’s sales is derived from schools. Research Machines attributes its success in the primary and secondary education market to the approval of its range by the Micros in Schools programme both for adopting the industry standard MS-DOS to drive its machines, and for its ability to offer networking and graphics of a quality which comparable MS-DOS boxes could not match at that time. Contrary to public belief the market for micros in schools is not declining and Research Machines reports a 50% annual growth in sales, thanks partly to the government’s provision of money for the TVEI scheme, as well as to the education support grant. Not only is the market growing but so is the company’s share of it, with a revenue which is reportedly larger than that of Acorn. Research Machines is also doing well in the professional market having recently won a UKP1.5m deal with the Department of Trade & Industry to provide 600 micros networked via Ethernet for the Department’s office systems strategy, Project Puffin. To finan ce all this growth, particularly with the health service market nearly ripe for plucking, the company says it is now thinking in terms of going public sometime next year.