Print 27 comment(s) - last by PedroDaGr8.. on Jun 22 at 1:48 PM

NEC's Packard Bell division is up for bids but no checks have been cut

Back in January, DailyTech reported that NEC was putting up its Packard Bell division up for bids, despite having a good year in 2005. Reports today have surfaced indicating that NEC has finally received a bid for its Packard Bell division. Forbes reports that the founder of eMachines, Lap Shun Hui, has put in a 10B yen (about $87M USD) offer for Packard Bell. As many know, both eMachines and Packard Bell play in the same entry-level market.

Packard Bell was a big player several years ago in the US but retreated to Europe due to heavy competition in the Americas. Since then, the company has gone through several phases of restructuring. In fact, Packard Bell was doing so well in Europe that NEC ended up devoting its entire Livingston factory to just producing Packard Bell machines.

While the company did well in 2005, analysts report said that Packard Bell lost some market share in Europe due to increased price competition from other players. However, Packard Bell's communications director Hughes Gontier indicated that despite the loss of some market share, the company did not lose money. Some of the company's employees were notified that an offer was put up but not much else was revealed. It is uncertain at this time if NEC will accept Shun Hui's offer.

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Ahh the old days
By AppaYipYip on 6/21/2006 1:07:49 PM , Rating: 2
I can remember back in the day when Packard Bell's were considered top of the line, or at least close to it. I remember drooling over my friends Packard Bell 486 DX PC.

RE: Ahh the old days
By Inkjammer on 6/21/2006 1:26:29 PM , Rating: 2
The first computer I got that WASN'T a hand-me-down was an old Packard Bell 486-SX 25Mhz machine with 4 whole megs of RAM! The machine's DOS installation was corrupt and it had to be reformatted and... that's when I came to discover that the machine didn't come with software.

I had to copy it all to disk.

So I had no way to re-install DOS or applications. :\ It left an appropriate burning sensation in my gut eternally for off-the-shelf machines.

RE: Ahh the old days
By TheShniz on 6/21/2006 1:32:12 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, and then Intel's DX4 came out @ a whopping 100MHz!

'ah the days'
- J

RE: Ahh the old days
By xit2nowhere on 6/22/2006 4:53:50 AM , Rating: 2
Hah, I had exact same machine, except it was from DELL :D

RE: Ahh the old days
By obeseotron on 6/21/2006 1:48:36 PM , Rating: 2
Top of the line? I don't think so.

I remember them being some of the first to market the multimedia home PC angle, which meant an 8bit soundcard, 13" CRT with telephone quality speakers mounted, and a CD drive along with the 7th guest.

RE: Ahh the old days
By Inkjammer on 6/21/2006 2:14:39 PM , Rating: 3
Don't forget Mavis Beacon Teaches Type, San Diego's Zoo "The Animals", Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? and Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe. Those were three of the most commonly bundled together.

RE: Ahh the old days
By cubby1223 on 6/21/2006 2:49:39 PM , Rating: 2
Top of the line? Ever look inside one of those garbage piles? Half of the components inside the *new* Packard Bell's had a "refurbished" sticker on them. And the components failed so often, after the first 2 years of ownership you likely had nothing left with the Packard Bell logo on it besides the mouse and the internal pc speaker.

I wouldn't pay 10 Yen for Packard Bell. Well, I suppose I would on second though - only because I could sell it right away to eMachines for 10 billion Yen.

RE: Ahh the old days
By dgingeri on 6/21/2006 3:08:02 PM , Rating: 2
My dad had better luck with his PAckard Bell than I did with my Tandy.

His had a bad motherboard shortly after he bought it. They replaced the board a couple days later on site and never had a problem with it again.

Mine, I had a bad hard drive controller off the bat, which wasn't integrated in the motherboard like they are now, it was an ISA IDE controller with serial and parallel ports on it. Then a bad floppy drive, then bad memory, then bad power supply fan, then bad hard drive, then bad keyboard. I brought it to their service place, radio shack, 6 times in the first year. They sent it back to me 4 days later saying nothing was wrong 5 of those 6 times, then on the 6th time, they held it in the store for 2 weeks while I called them asking for status. finally I went in there and they were trying to sell it with all my upgrades in it (2X CD-ROM drive, sound card, tape drive, extra memory) as a demo model. I checked it against my paperwork for the serial number before they would even believe that they needed to look up their paperwork (4 hours of arguing) and see that it was my computer. The only original part I had at the end of their 1 year 'warranty' was the case.

I have been building my own computers from what I learned from that one ever since. At least they used industry standard parts to build that piece of crap. I have since learned a lot more and am a support tech due to that. Go figure. I guess some good came out of it. I never would have looked into my computer if it hadn't been for all those bad parts and I never would have become a support tech.

RE: Ahh the old days
By BladeVenom on 6/21/2006 5:24:14 PM , Rating: 2
At one time they were as good as anyone else out there. I got my first and only Packard Bell, after IBM wasn't able to deliver a working computer even after 3 tries.

RE: Ahh the old days
By filterxg on 6/21/2006 7:23:34 PM , Rating: 2
Pack Bell 386SX/16 baby!!! 5.25" only. 40MB HD. Ran Dos Shell for a week before deciding pure dos was a better bet. Thing is still in my garage, completely rusted through.

RE: Ahh the old days
By melgross on 6/22/2006 12:50:01 AM , Rating: 2
That's a joke, right?

Packard Bells were always the cheapest machines around, like eMachines.

RE: Ahh the old days
By melgross on 6/22/2006 12:53:19 AM , Rating: 2
Ah, I just realised. He meant Hewlett Packard, he confused the names. Back then, they were considered to be the Rolls Royce of computers.

How times have changed. They went after marketshare, and became as cheap as everyone else.

Good ole days..
By tzulo on 6/21/2006 1:43:36 PM , Rating: 2
Ahh the good ole days.

I still remember the good ole 'TURBO' buttons on pcs. LOL. Change LED from 33 to 66mhz on my old 486 dx2 66mhz system.

RE: Good ole days..
By Chillin1248 on 6/21/2006 1:55:04 PM , Rating: 3
The "Turbo" button actually did something? Maybe that explains why "Novastorm" (great game) was crashing on me non-stop in DOS, the computer wasn't stable.... It really did something?

RE: Good ole days..
By Griswold on 6/21/2006 2:13:41 PM , Rating: 2
Oh yes, Novastorm! I still got that game. In fact, I'm looking at the CD now. Funny days..

RE: Good ole days..
By cubby1223 on 6/21/2006 3:03:33 PM , Rating: 2
The turbo button was quite useful on the few 486 boards that still supported them. Back then games weren't written very well, and games that ran fine on a 386 were sometimes running in ultra high speeds on a 486 (i.e. unplayable). Turbo button helped those out. Disabling cache memory had the same results, too, that was the other thing to get those old games to play at a more normal speed.

RE: Good ole days..
By mpower on 6/21/2006 1:57:02 PM , Rating: 2
The good old Turbo button....on my Packard Bell 386sx, it helped push me from 8mhz to 16mhz. I also remember getting the upgraded hard drive at 120mb and 2mb of ram. I think I still have that pc in the basement somewhere.

RE: Good ole days..
By Griswold on 6/21/2006 2:15:11 PM , Rating: 2
My first turbo button was on a 8088 XT. Went from 4.7MHz to 10MHz with "teh turbo".

Man you guys are making ME feel old
By PedroDaGr8 on 6/21/2006 2:37:17 PM , Rating: 2
I'm only 25 but I remember the first computer that my family got, I think we still have the box around here somewhere. 286 (I don't remember if it was sx or dx or if that was even an option) an amazing 16mhz and a 40mb hardrive. The processor didn't even need a heat sink and it was ENORMOUS compared to todays processors. Man those were the days, back when we installed our SoundBlastre CD-ROM edition, and got our first 1x CD-ROM. MAN.

By drebo on 6/21/2006 3:02:40 PM , Rating: 2
I'm 21 and I remember our first Packard Bell 286 very fondly. Got it in like 1990. Was top of the line. Paid over $2500 for it. DOS 3.22, 368K ram with 640k extended, 40mb hard drive that was so big it had to be partitioned into two 20mb hard drives, and a 3.5" floppy.

About a year after we got that, we bought a 2400 BAUD modem and subscribed to Prodigy BBS. Madmaze was awesome!

Playing Commander Keen, DoTT...god I loved that system. And, guess was still in use until about three years ago.

RE: Man you guys are making ME feel old
By littlebitstrouds on 6/21/2006 3:53:50 PM , Rating: 2
Man those were the days, back when we installed our SoundBlastre CD-ROM edition, and got our first 1x CD-ROM. MAN.

I spent all my life savings on that exact combo... Mind you I was like 10, but I still have the drive and box from that. I'm pretty sure that external CD drive is bigger than a mac mini now. The next year I got a HP deskjet 660cse printer to replace our dotmatrix. Ah the days. Hey anyone remember dialing in using Telex to like bbs servers that hosted games and such? Used to download a 100k game all night.

By rrsurfer1 on 6/22/2006 9:59:36 AM , Rating: 2
Hell yea. BBS servers were great.

The most common one I used was called beggers banquet. I later found out (like 5 years later) that my friends father hosted the server. :)

By PedroDaGr8 on 6/22/2006 1:48:12 PM , Rating: 2
Anyone rember installing a new hard drive and stuff like that on one of these. WHere you had to know all of the stuff like the cylinders and stuff like that and enter in manually. Heh I remember when we upgraded to a huge 240mb hd. WHOO HOO and we were amazed at how it clicked instead of sounding more like a whine.

By deeznuts on 6/21/2006 1:35:13 PM , Rating: 2
Yup my first machine was a 486, not sure which speed but it was literally a few weeks/months before the Pentium came out, and it was top of the line. Came with windows 3.1 I think. Promptly loaded up aol to look for porn because of what I read in the news magazine lol. Couldn't find porn for the life of me. In fact, I remember for the first week I couldn't figure out how to get to the web, I was stuck in AOL land.

By hans007 on 6/21/2006 2:00:49 PM , Rating: 2
my father works at one of the oems that used to build all those 486s. we had all the new packard bell stuff.


all i remember is they didnt have such a good rep here, for reusing used parts.

The First Computer We Got
By Merry on 6/21/2006 3:05:13 PM , Rating: 2
Was a packard bell

Pentium 100mhz/8meg RAM/850mb hdd

god it was crap

Happy memories, though, a certain part of me wants the name to stay, i have no idea why.

For the name
By RuStYwAvE on 6/21/2006 5:25:16 PM , Rating: 2
I think 87 million is a bargain price for Packard Bell considering Gateway purchase eMachines for $30 million in cash and 50 million shares of stock, valuing the deal at approximately $234.5 million. The Emachine founder is buying the company for the brand name which is well known whether it is bad or good turning into a competitor and probably gonna to resale it when the company has nice portifio with large profiting outlooks.

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