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Gateway signs deal with UK's largest reseller

Direct meets indirect as Computacenter takes Gateway to corporate market

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Computacenter is to distribute Gateway PCs in the UK, following the signing of a two-year deal to target corporate and government business. Called Service Direct, the agreement covers the whole of Europe but kicks off in the UK. Computacenter will add Gateway to its existing major-account sales portfolio and Gateway will target the SME market. Despite its strong retail presence, Gateway has struggled to break into the UK business market. It no doubt hopes this deal will let it do just that. Computacenter communications manager, Phil Williams, denied there was any contradiction in a reseller cosying up to a direct-selling PC maker. "Our main role is to provide our customers with the best quality hardware and services we can – this has to be given to them in a cost-effective bundle that meets their needs." He said the agreement was a reaction to the runaway success of Dell's build-to-order/sell direct model. But he refuted suggestions that Computacenter would compromise existing partnerships with PC manufacturers. Compaq in particular is unlikely to be overjoyed when it hears its biggest European channel partner is now doing business with Gateway. "At the end of the day, we're customer driven, not vendor driven," he said. "Compaq is a major partner and we will continue to work with them. We are developing a new model with Gateway which may, one day, be extended to other relationships." ®

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