01 September 1998

AS THEY SAY in Las Vegas: 'Never pick a fight, pard’ner, if’n yuh don’t wear a big hat!' The stetsons don’t come much bigger than that worn by Intel, the world’s largest semi-conductor manufacturer, which squared-up to Britain’s Dixons at the annual Comdex computer trade fair in Las Vegas. Craig Barrett, Intel’s chief executive, speaking to a packed convention hall, accused Dixons of retarding PC sales in the UK by charging 'ridiculous margins'. Intel’s assault follows similar criticism last month by major PC manufacturers in Britain where, according to UK market research specialist Context, average PC prices are some 33% higher than in Germany or the USA. Dixons Stores Group, which also owns Currys and PC World, holds the dominant position in PC retailing ..

... Dixons’ chairman, Sir Stanley Kalms, later refuted allegations that his stores overcharge for PCs, insisting that he welcomed the Office of Fair Trading probe, instigated at the request of trade and industry secretary Mandelson, as an opportunity to prove his case. The allegations, said Stan-Boy were an 'absurdity'.