Personal computers soon may be significantly more available behind the Iron Curtain, thanks to a Commerce Department ruling in July that removed export restrictions on AT-class and similar computers.
The announcement came hot on the heels of President Bush's successful trip to Eastern Europe and was timed to coincide with negotiations of the Western allied 17-nation Coordinating Committee on Multilateral Export Controls. With American approval secured, the Committee removed all export restrictions to the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc, effective August 15.
Most of the machines covered by the Commerce Department ruling operate with Intel's 80286 micro-processors or their equivalent. The IBM PS/2 Model 30 and Apple MacIntosh Plus are examples of machines affected by the decision.
The Washington-based Computer and Communications Industry Association hailed the move but said that more remains to be done. "This should have been done a long time ago and at higher levels with fewer exceptions," said the group's vice president and general counsel, Ed Black.
Laptops were excluded from the CammBrcs Department's foreign availability study at the Pentagon's insistence.