System builders: Differentiation lies in the software load

Manufacturers of personal computers and notebooks face quite a challenge in differentiating their products.

December 16, 2009

Manufacturers of personal computers and notebooks face quite a challenge in differentiating their products. After all, they all use components which are similar or exactly the same and run operating systems which are identical. The only real opportunities for differentiation lie in the physical packaging of those components – and the software which is bundled with the machine. Addressing this latter opportunity, software republisher Phoenix draws on its extensive catalogue of software solutions to deliver high-value, low cost bundles to enhance the appeal of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

According to Simon Campbell-Young Phoenix Software CEO, the organisation provides bespoke bundles to provide value likely to be appreciated by the target market of the OEM. “These include bundles for education, business, consumer, gaming-specific or demographic-specific computers. By including a Phoenix OEM bundle with their machines, manufacturers can stand out from the crowd by delivering a computer which is ready to get to work right away with application software preloaded, and which is protected by antivirus software,” he says.

In addition to providing software to PC makers, Campbell-Young says the company also works with printer and camera manufacturers. “Our ability to work with this range of OEMs rests on the catalogue of solutions and software that has been built up over years in the business,” he remarks.

Campbell-Young notes that cost is always a consideration for equipment manufacturers which compete not only on features, functions and software included with their products, but also on price. “As a consequence, we are able to bundle a large range of solutions with hardware at a very attractive price point, in the region of 10% of the retail value of the software. That allows OEMs to bring products to market with several thousand Rand’s worth of software without impacting too heavily on the shelf price.”

Campbell-Young adds that this cost structure is owing to Phoenix Software’s status as a publisher. “This also means the software included with the products of our OEMs is not freeware or previous versions. From antivirus and internet security, to image manipulation and music management programmes, it is real software which is on retail shelves. Including a Phoenix bundle therefore adds true value to the hardware vendor – and ultimately, to his end-user.”