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Plus/4 At Half Mast As CBM Swings Axe

Published in Personal Computer News #099

Plus/4 At Half Mast As CBM Swings Axe

The axe has falled on the Commodore Plus/4. So far £150 has been trimmed off the price, but the machine's career could be in the axe's path as well.

After weeks of denying that it had any plans to reduce prices Commodore took the Plus/4 down to £150 earlier this week. This is savagery on an unprecedented scale - the Plus/4 was launched last year at £299. A spokesman said sheepishly that the cut was not a short-term special offer.

The Plus/4 was aimed to bridge the gap between home and business computing. It has 64K of RAM, 32K of ROM, a Basic with more than 75 commands, and four applications packages - a word processor, database, spreadsheet and graphics - in ROM.

But the system was received half-heartedly by some independent software suppliers, and it began to look distinctly superfluous when the Commodore 128 made its appearance at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (issue 95).

Two weeks ago (issue 98) Commodore was forced to declare redundancies at its Corby plant, where the Plus/4, the Commodore 16, and the C64 are built. This news was followed by reports from the US that Commodore had cut the price of the C64 to $150 there. The UK company said that the C64 in this country would not follow suit.

Commodore is presenting the Plus/4 cut as an example of its ability to assess and react rapidly to changing market circumstances - in other words, it's kicking the BBC Micro while Acorn is down. Other companies may have to respond.