March 20, 1997 11:00 AM ET
PC vendors sign on to Zip Drives
Iomega introduces new internal Zip drive with ATAPI; drives to be incorporated into new portables.
By Scott Berinato

  Iomega Corp. wants the 1.44MB floppy dead.

The drive company is adding new technology to its 100MB Zip drive that eliminates the need for separate controllers for multiple drives.

Iomega's new internal Zip features a Attachment Packet Interface connection. ATAPI, commonly used to connect a CD-ROM drive, eliminates the need for separate controllers, proprietary drivers or add-in cards to run the internal Zip, said officials of the Roy, Utah, company.

The internal Zip will ship next month for roughly the price of a current drive, or $199.

In recent months, Iomega has inked licensing deals with nearly a dozen PC makers to offer its Zip drive as an option on their computers. The list of OEMs includes several top tier PC makers, such as IBM Personal Computer Co., Compaq Computer Corp., Packard Bell NEC, Hewlett-Packard Co., Dell Computer Corp. and Gateway 2000 Inc.

Gateway will incorporate the ATAPI Zip drive into select desktops when they become available from Iomega. Sources say the drives should become available in the second quarter.

NEC will offer a notebook version of the drive for its portables this summer.

A design to fit Compaq, IBM and Apple Computer Inc. notebooks will be available as an option or as a separate module swappable with modular floppy drives on current notebooks.

Pricing on portable versions of the drive have not been set.

With the Zip drive's initial consumer sheen dulling, corporations are beginning to catch on.

"With this initiative by system makers, you'll see Zip become a corporate tool," said Ray Freeman, president of Freeman Associates Inc., in Santa Barbara, Calif. "Corporations weren't going to start the trend, but resistance will diminish now that it's in the system and as easy as an A drive."

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