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Gateway Sets Apart Direct Line

6/29/2006 02:00:00 AM Eastern

Irvine, Calif. — Starting today Gateway will relaunch its direct line of desktop and notebook computers with the intention of placing a defined gap between these models and those sold through retail.

The strategy is being launched on the back of a new line of Gateway-branded desktops that will only be available via the company’s Web site and toll-free number, said Bart Brown, Gateway’s direct business senior VP. The move is designed to create a special world for the direct models. Generally, they will have better configurations, a higher starting price point, better software and free technical and customer support than the Gateway and eMachines models purchased at retail, he said.

“We are going back to the roots of Gateway. Giving the customer everything they need and more,” Brown said.

Placing a defined partition between what Gateway offers directly vs. in a store did not come from the company’s retail partners, Brown said. Instead it was requested internally by the retail product managers, he said, to avoid overlap and customer confusion.

“Over the past couple of years we were competing against ourselves,” Brown said, but this new situation should rectify that problem.

On the hardware side the entire line is Vista ready with all running Intel’s dual-core technology and a minimum of 512MB of DDR2 memory and larger hard drives. Gateway will also include Microsoft Office Basic for free with all direct models. Gateway will only include digital monitors in its bundles, such as the new 19W-inch FPD1975W that was introduced last week.

In another change Gateway has dropped its customer support fee. Gateway had been one of the few companies still charging customers for this service. This service will be handled in a new U.S.-based customer service center that will open later this year. Previously, support operations were based offshore. In the future this level of service could be expanded to those buying at retail, Brown said.

Gateway has mapped a $799 starting price for the new direct desktop models. The base model will feature an Intel Pentium D processor 930, 512MB of memory, 160GB hard drive, ATI Radeon X300 Based Integrated Graphics, multiformat DVD burner and a 15-inch display.

The entry-level notebook starts at $999. It weighs in at just over five pounds and an Intel Duo Core processor T2050, 14.1-inch display, 512MB of DDR2 memory, an 80GB hard drive and a DVD/CD-RW drive.

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