This story was written by Keith Dawson for the Industry Standard's Media Grok email newsletter. It is archived here for informational purposes only because The Standard's site is no more. This material is Copyright 1999-2001 by Standard Media.

Whole Lotta Shaking Going on
Oct 04 1999 12:00 AM PDT

More than buildings and people got shook up in the Taiwan earthquake. Supply chains were rattled too, and the effects are just starting to be felt. On Friday, Hewlett-Packard (HWP) warned analysts of a possible impact on its PC business resulting from the Taiwan quake. USA Today carried an AP story bundling this news with other developments affecting HP's stock price. In this morning's Wall Street Journal, David P. Hamilton and Dean Takahashi (with Gary McWilliams) reported that when Intel (INTC) announced a delay in a much-anticipated memory chip set (the 820), the PC players stampeded to an alternative technology - one whose chips happen to be manufactured in a single plant in Taiwan. But the Journal noted that Gateway and Compaq (CPQ), among others, expect no supply problems resulting from the quake.

Also on Friday, analysts from Salomon Smith Barney and BancBoston Robertson Stephens (no, not Keith Benjamin) put out research reports warning of Dell Computer (DELL)'s vulnerability to quake aftershocks. Reporter Nicole Ridgeway delved into these reports on the Journal's Tech Stocks page and noted that Dell's share price had inched higher on Friday. Go figure. Ridgeway paraphrased Salomon analyst Richard Gardner on another reason Dell may be more vulnerable than some other manufacturers: the company has several large accounts whose deals include fixed computer prices for a long time to come.

CNET (CNET)'s Joe Wilcox pointed out that Dell's just-in-time manufacturing strategy could turn into just-too-late when supplies get thin. Wilcox quoted MicroDesign Resources analyst Peter Glaskowsky downplaying the impact of Intel's delayed 820 chip set; Glaskowsky said it would affect only a small number of top-of-the-line machines. Wilcox quoted a Dell spokesman dismissing rumors of manufacturing delays. But for the real skinny Wilcox talked to a Dell salesman. What are the chances now of getting a new Dell machine delivered in under a week?


H-P: Earthquake Hurt Sales
USA Today

Dell Shares Edge Higher Amid Worries About Results
Wall Street Journal
[Registration required.]

Aftershock of Taiwan Quake Includes a Growing Fear of a PC Chip Shortage
Wall Street Journal
[Registration required.]

Component Shortages Could Hurt Dell