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Final element of Gerstner's PC plans crumbles

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IBM is expected to announce a range of ThinkPads in the next few days which will turn its former channel policy on its head. The notebooks, dubbed iThinkPads, according to sources close to the company, will be sold direct rather than through the channel. During this year, IBM has steadily reduced its dependence on the channel in Europe. It started by competing with Compaq to sell desktops direct, then announced it would sell NetFinity's through a similar scheme. The arrival of the direct iThinkPad is the latest demonstration that Lou Gerstner, IBM's CEO and chairman, has realised that two tier distribution might not be the best route for his company. ® Related Stories: IBM sheds tears for business partners IBM Ts&Cs come home to roost in Turkey Somerset in Autumn of existence The Register in San Diego: BPEC arrives

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