The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Money

December 1, 2007

Phillips Technologies selling energy-efficient computer with price a fraction of many others

For two decades, software giant Microsoft has had few challengers. While holding a majority of the software market in the palm of its hand, Microsoft has been able to charge hundreds or thousands of dollars for its programs.

That may be changing as alternative software emerges — software that is comparable to, and compatible with, Microsoft programs.

Much of this software is free, thanks to a community developed operating system named Ubuntu. Ubuntu offers software that can be downloaded online for home, school or commercial use. Ubuntu has its own programs for word processing, burning CDs, accounting, building databases, creating presentations, photography and other uses.

Until now, a large portion of the price for personal computers was the Microsoft software that provided programs such as Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

“If you buy a $1,000 machine, only about $400 of that is hardware,” said Jay Trent of Phillips Technologies in Beckley. “The rest (of the cost) is all software.”

Phillips Technologies is selling a personal computer that is designed for use with Ubuntu. The price of the computer is a fraction of what many other computers cost.

Additionally, Phillips’ computer saves money on electricity costs. The new machine is called “Green PC” because it operates with a VIA computer chip and motherboard that maximizes energy efficiency. The manufacturers of the VIA chip claim that their processors are designed to consume up to 76 percent less power than similar products on the market.

The Green PC is equipped with an 80-gig hard drive, 512 megabytes of RAM, a DVD burner and six USB ports. It comes with a keyboard and mouse. The computer sells for $299.

“Just about anything you can do on Microsoft you can do on this machine,” said David Fondale, sales manager at Phillips Technologies.

“Part of the selling point of this machine is that right out of the box, you can do anything you want — burn a CD, modify a photograph, watch a movie, listen to music, or browse the Internet,” Fondale said.

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