Backing a government initiative is an inherently risky prospect. While the buying power produced by these schemes is undeniable, the inherent instability of the UK political system means that these programmes can end up being axed with little warning, causing some discomfort for any investors. The Home Computing Initiative was a perfect example of this.
When first implemented in 1999, the HCI was applauded as a fantastic idea and tremendous success, offering computers to people who otherwise just couldn't afford them. Remember, in 1999 a moderate 550MHz Pentium III with 128MB DDR RAM a 10GB hard drive and a Voodoo 3 could easily set you back in the region of £1,600, which is a lot of money to spend on a PC now, let alone eight years ago. However, after deciding the system was too open to abuse Gordon Brown axed it in the 2006 budget, to much disgust from its users. A campaign run by the Conservative Party to try and reinstate the scheme came to no avail and now the issue appears simply to have been forgotten.
As one of several heavy investors in the scheme, UK computing giants Evesham suffered heavily from the loss of business the HCI previously provided. The long and short of this is that the company has had to find external investment in order to finance necessary restructuring, gearing its business model towards high-end PC systems and consumer electronics.
Also falling by the wayside are the majority of Evesham's retail stores, which haven't been performing as well as hoped. PPC Technology, the company supplying $22 million in order to assist with this restructuring, has no plans to have any day-to-day involvement in the running of the company. Whether this reorganisation will have any obvious effect on the general consumer is unknown at present, but the implication is that there should be more focus on that business sector going forwards, which should benefit consumers.