Marc Ambasna-Jones's Diary

Monday

Woke up feeling groggy. "The Far Eastern financial crisis if far from over," I thought as I munched on my Weetabix. Clinton allegedly wanted sex in the White House, Blair's to meet Sinn Fein in an attempt to rescue the peace process and cable TV is to drop a further notch in the quality ratings following the Mirror Group's plans to expand its saucy 'Carry On TV' channel LiveTV.

"Better get some coffee and toast in", I thought, as rumours of trouble at the Samsung mill started to filter through. Here was the Asian crisis having an immediate affect on the doorstep. Not only has Samsung shelved its UK factory plans it was also scaling down its UK operation by cutting the marketing and management support head count at its Brentford office.

A quick call to Samsung's Surbiton office revealed that other operations seemed unaffected, at least for the time being. But it is one to watch. The company's acquisition of AST meant that it canned production of its desktop and notebook PCs. That left storage and monitors as the major slice of the product portfolio. Hard drive vendors have been suffering recently while the monitor market has also gone through a whirlwind price storm.

The company's one saving grace is that it is a technology vendor, not an assembler. It manufactures its own DRAM, drives and the majority of components in its monitors (including the glass and casing). But the financial problems of South Korea will no doubt take their toll and the next few months could be an interesting ride, where some of the lesser vendors could come a cropper.

Went home from work to play with son and watch the football.

Tuesday

After wading through masses of marketing and press material acquired at last week's Computer Trade Show (CTS), I headed out for a meeting with Tony Dowton, of Dowton Computer Services. He's a small dealer who builds PCs and was interested to hear my comments about CTS.

"Good show", I said. "Chatted to a few people who bought me lots of drinks, had too many flaming Drambouies and gossiped about DRAM pricing and the dancing technique of Vanguard Microelectronics's managing director John Byrne.

Tony was particular interested in the DRAM part and has already made plans to bring in some stock as prices start to pick up. "What a game", I thought. "Must be difficult to be dictated by DRAM pricing."

Returned to the office to receive some excellent news from the excellent Crystal Palace e-mail news service (CPFRIS run by Ray Bateup). Padovano was fit again and raring to go for the Leicester FA Cup game. How sad I am to be dictated by the ups and downs of a football club.

Wednesday

It's always nice to start the day knowing that Compaq has had another great quarter. Is it just an English thing that always wants to knock down the successful companies and people? Surely not. Anyway, I'm a Palace supporter and general rooter for the underdog.

So come on all you tier three vendors start kicking some ass.

Just as this thought circled about my vacuous, Guinness-soaked membrane, I got a phone call from Charles Bows, marketing manager Fujitsu UK. "Hey Marc," said Charles in an over-familiar haven't we been out drinking before tone. "Yes?"

"I was wondering if you could help me. We were sitting here wondering which tier two and three vendors have gone under recently."

"Hhhmm," I muttered. "Well there's Crown

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