The future of the Sirius has been assured. Victor Technologies has agreed to sell the worldwide manufacturing and distribution rights to ACT.
The deal was signed in the same week that ACT launched hard disk versions of the Apricot - a development exclusively predicted by PCN two months ago.
ACT has an exclusive agreement on the Sirius following a decision by Hong Kong-based Swire Pacific to drop out of a joint bid.
Swire will continue to distribute the machine in the Far East and may end up doing some of the manufacturing.
At the time of going to press, ACT was unable to confirm whether it will continue to manufacture the Sirius in California or shift production to its own factory in Scotland.
ACT is now in the curious position of manufacturing two compatible machines which compete against each other on both price and performance.
The new Apricot XI machines will sell at £2,695 with a 5Mb had disk and £2,995 with a 10Mb hard disk. The twin 5.25" floppy version of the Sirius sells at £2,525.
The hard disks for the Apricot come from ACT's neighbours in Scotland, Rodime. The company has established a world-wide lead in 3.5" Winchester technology.
At the launch of the XI, ACT's managing director Roger Foster said sales of the existing Apricot were now running at 2,000 a month. At this rate it is outselling the Sirius whose sales figures are thought to be around 1,250. As PCN's latest sales chart indicates, retail sales of both machines are virtually level pegging and only just behind the IBM PC.
The deal with Victor is costing ACT around £7 million and the company intends to finance the purchase out of cash reserves.