The University Record, June 11, 1996

1996-97 Computer Kick-Off sales program begins in June

The kickoff for the 199697 U-M Computer Sales Program begins June 17.

In past years, the annual Computer KickOff sale began in August, and delivery of systems took place at the Sports Coliseum over a two-day period in October. "That process has been an efficient way for us to deliver systems," says Phil Harding, computer sales manager.

"Since most of our 3,000 KickOff customers are students and weren't eligible to get a computer until after the class drop/add period in mid-September, however, we had to deliver systems as fast as we could after that period," says Harding. "This year, we've been able to adjust our eligibility policies and now students can buy as soon as they are registered for at least six credit hours of classes."

June also is the time when back-to-school products and prices are first offered by most computer and software companies. "New students---and their parents---are eager to get ready for the fall term, and returning students and faculty also want to get a head start," notes Harding.

"By beginning the KickOff program in June and extending it for several months, we can be more flexible as products and prices change," he says. "And we can run the program at a more reasonable pace."

Although the regular computer sales program will continue year-round, the reason to buy through the KickOff program is that computers are bundled into complete systems with all the necessary software, and prices are usually lower. Desktop and portable systems in a range of prices will be available through the KickOff program, and all systems will be pre-loaded with word processing and other productivity software. Internet access is another feature that is expected to be easily available for all systems, either through Ethernet or via modem.

"We've been working with vendors to develop a better method of getting more software onto these computers so we can offer customers a complete system that's easy to set up and use right out of the box," says Ruth Addis, an Information Technology Division product area manager.

Although negotiations are still in process, this year's KickOff should include products from Apple, Dell, IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Zenith, as well as software bundles from Claris and Microsoft. Hewlett-Packard and Apple printers will be sold with or without a computer purchase.

Ordering and delivery may be different---and better---this year, according to Harding. "First, systems will be paid for in full and delivery should be as close to the time of payment as possible," he says. Loan programs for all systems are expected to be in place by June for those who would like help with financing their purchases.

Some vendors may offer ordering options through an 800 telephone number or from a WorldWide Web page. Delivery options may include immediate pickup at the Showcase or M-Stores or direct shipment to a specified address (home, office or residence hall).

Sales to individuals will continue to be headquartered at the Computer Showcase on the ground level of the Michigan Union. Information about KickOff systems is available both at the Showcase and on the Showcase home page Sales to departments will be handled by the M-Stores Computer Procurement Team, 998-6200.