Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Computer Shakeout Spawns Ibm Clones / Hybrid Computers Cost a Third Less

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Computer Shakeout Spawns Ibm Clones / Hybrid Computers Cost a Third Less

Article excerpt

DALLAS - Allen Cwagenberg builds clones - intelligent, microchip-laden thinking machines - but he's no mad scientist and he has no medical pretensions.

Cwagenberg is an electronics engineer. The clones he builds are high-powered computers, the latest generation of lookalikes mimicking the power, durability and appearance of Big Blue, giant IBM, but at a third to a half of the price.

His laboratory is an unobstrusive two-room niche in a quiet suburban shopping center. Business comes mostly from mailouts, fliers, strategic advertising.

""We get orders from as far away as Hawaii and Florida,'' says the soft-spoken owner of Lolir Electronics.

Cwagenberg is a survivor, both a victim and beneficiary of the massive shakeout which has convulsed the personal computer industry in recent years, leaving only IBM and a few others towering above the rubble.

He came to Texas from the Great Lakes region and was co-partner in a large manufacturing company which made power supplies for computers. But the shakeout left clients scarce and money tight. ""Theheadaches were immeasurable.''

At 37, Cwagenberg bailed out. He opted to take advantage of the internecine destruction, the graveyard of parts left by now-defunct firms or firms ridding themselves of surplus.

""It occurred to me that there was a lot of real good material on the market at super prices.''

High-tech brokers bought up many of these parts - modems, mice, macro and micro items - and offered them to wildcatters like Cwagenberg at bargain prices.

""It's what we call the gray market,'' he said.

""We discovered there were lots of supplies out there. There were companies going out of business, reducing supplies, and lots of brokers who handled the surplus.''

From the remains of the old, a new cottage industry was born. …

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