Second Hand Smoke - Computex Reality Check

This is will be our only NC-17 report from Taiwan because, I am sitting here at an ungodly hour of the night, writing this in a very plush Grand Hyatt Taipei bathrobe. All I can say is that if you ever want to be a journalist, learn how to write articles with little sleep while subsisting on a diet of strong coffee, Oreos, and room service.

Not a lot of people know this, but before Tom started to get into the nitty gritty of systems integration, meaning that he actuallly looked the guts of a PC and started testing it, Computex was the place that you went to sell your components to the guys who weren't Compaq, Dell, HP, IBM, or Gateway.

In the graphics board business, this was the place you came to find a contract manufacturer because, this is where most of the world's graphics chips end up. Actually, it's where most of the world's PC components end up, but until recently, there wasn't much mention of it outside of the trade press, and even then, in very specialized publications.

Today, it's actually overrun by eager Webmasters from a variety of enthusiast sites so, without meaning to offend anyone, the noise from this place is deafening. This being the first time I have ever had to write about Computex, the experience leaves me to believe that there should be some context to what goes on in here. By that, I mean that it is not just one mass of product releases, innuendo, and rumor. Think of Computex as the world's biggest computer bazaar. Half of the products here end up in distribution channels, a quarter with systems integrators, and a quarter among OEMs. So, the vast majority of the product coming out of Computex are going into trade channels which means that they are not for general, public consumption. So, why should Computex be important to you?

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