updated 11:50 am EDT, Fri July 25, 2008
Gateway Exits Direct Sales
Gateway on Friday revealed that it will formally quit direct-order sales of PCs and other products and offer its lineup only in retail stores. The surprise move ends the business that underpinned Gateway's early success in the 1980s and 1990s but is described as bringing the American company's approach in line with that of its parent company Acer, which took over Gateway last year and itself offers computers only through resellers. Moving to a single model is also said to save on costs by simplifying Gateway's sales process.
No timetable is given for the transition.
The decision marks a significant about-face for Gateway, which began exclusively as a direct business but tried branching out to retail during the late 1990s and early 2000s with its own-brand stores. The effort ultimately floundered in part due to Gateway's insistence that no stores keep their own stock; customers could try example systems but were asked to order systems online or via phone if they wanted to commit to a sale.
It ultimately returned to retail through third-party vendors such as Best Buy and has enjoyed moderate success that contributed to moving rivals such as Apple and Dell into third-party retail stores, although the company only moved into third place among PC vendors after the Acer acquisition joined the two Windows PC makers' market share.