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Gateway-Branded PCs Heading Toward Retailers

A Gateway computer executive said last month that the company is actively shopping its Gateway-branded PCs and notebooks to retailers and expects to have them in stores before the end of the year.

If implemented, this would mark a major change for the company, which previously had only sold its product directly or through the now-closed Gateway retail stores. Ed Fisher, Gateway’s senior VP/product planning, could not give any details, but said Gateway is talking with several retailers.

When Gateway concluded its purchase of entry-level PC maker eMachines, the newly anointed company CEO Wayne Inouye, formerly CEO of eMachines, said only eMachines’ models would be sold through third-party retailers, while Gateway retained control of its own brand. The company does intend to sell Gateway-branded CE devices, such as plasma TVs, through other retailers.

No reason was given for this strategy shift.

Gateway is also looking to overhaul its entire product portfolio. Fisher said that since March the company has been working on developing a new company look for both the Gateway and eMachines products. The end result should be a more uniform appearance between the two brands. They would continue to be positioned differently in the market with Gateway models being presented to higher-end customers, while eMachines would focus on computers in the $400 to $800 price range.

Gateway has sold some branded products on a very limited basis through Office Depot since January, and more recently it has used Best Buy as a conduit to rid itself of inventory left over from the 188 Gateway stores shuttered in April.

Gateway has continued to sell eMachines-branded notebook and desktop models through several chains, including Best Buy.