Alienware Offers New Looks, Low Prices

First, that it is only a very high-cost technology provider. Second, that it's only focused on the gaming and home PC segments without any corporate commercial strategy.

The Miami-based system builder, known for years for its high-end PCs and notebooks for gamers and prosumers, has launched an aggressive effort to compete with Dell, Hewlett-Packard and IBM in the low-priced system space.

Alienware's executives are hoping the conservative looks of its new products, such as the Bot desktop PC (above), combined with lower prices and bundled software, will help it play in new markets.

More specifically, the company late last year launched a $250 rebate on most of its desktop lineup as part of Alienware's overarching strategy to play in new spaces.

"When people see the big three [OEMs] advertising $500 machines, and we're advertising a $3,000 machine, they say, 'Hmmm,' " said Brian Joyce, Alienware's director of marketing. He said he hopes a lower-pricing strategy and a renewed commercial appeal will ensure that "people don't dismiss us as a boutique [shop] and say we must gold plate the inside of the machine."

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The second front of Alienware's plan of attack is to build a corporate presence. The company has sold into select corporate accounts that need high-powered, fast machines, including Northrop-Grumman, General Motors and Lockheed Martin. However the company's name and eclectic, distinctly uncorporate designs may have hindered its growth, Joyce said. As a result, the company decided to begin offering more conservative-looking systems and computers with high-performing commercial software.

Among other things, Alienware last year established an OEM relationship with Ulead Systems to integrate the Torrance, Calif. ISV's professional video-editing applications into its commercial solutions. Ulead executives said there was synergy with Alienware because of the performance capabilities of its custom-built PCs and notebooks.

Alienware, a privately held company, does not provide details of revenue or unit shipments, but Joyce said the company has grown by about 100 percent year over year for each of the past four years.