There was a time when many people would have bet on Gateway to become the largest direct retailer of computers in America, instead of Dell
. They even opened up a few boutique retail outlets along the way. They had a funky vibe going with their black and white cow-spotted boxes, and the future seemed very bright indeed. That future never materialized, and Gateway was acquired by Acer
last year for a comparatively modest $710 million. Now Gateway has completely ended the business model that put them on the map: Direct Sales. “We believe that our retail and e-tail partners offer consumers the best, easiest and most effective way to purchase Gateway products,” said Mark Hill, Acer Group U.S. General Manager. “Customers can rest assured that they will continue to get the award-winning products and outstanding technical support they’ve come to expect from Gateway for the last 23 years. Moving forward, we are pleased to be able to offer Gateway products through thousands of retail storefronts and major online and telephone-based channel partners both in the United States and abroad.”
Acer doesn't do direct sales, and brought their market vision to their new acquisition. Gateway computers are still available at a large assortment of retail resellers like Best Buy, Circuit City, Wal-Mart, and Costco, and interestingly, you can still buy them from online retailers like Newegg and Tiger Direct. Just not from Gateway. It's a testament to how far Gateway's direct purchase model had slipped that the Press Release announcing it is dated July 25th, and we can't find one reference to it in a news article.
If a cow falls in the online forest, but there's no one around to hear, does it still make a sound?