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Amazon moves into PC biz

Autumn kick-off date expected

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E-tailer Amazon.com is to start selling computers as part of its bid to get out of the red by the end of the year.

The Seattle-based dotcom yesterday informed investors and analysts of the plan to move into the PC business this autumn, but revealed few details.

With CEO Jeff Bezos joining Bill Gates on stage to launch Office XP, it's a fair bet Amazon is waiting for the release of Windows XP.

It did not say which manufacturers it would be using, although it did state that any risks would be minimal as it did not intend to handle inventory. The goods will be shipped direct to customers from vendors.

Bezos said the company was on track to reach operating profitability in the fourth quarter of this year. This is expected to continue during 2002.

"We've always said that there are no guarantees, but we feel pretty good about it," he said.

Earlier this year Amazon posted a net loss of $234 million for the first quarter after informing staff that 15 per cent of them were for the chop. ®

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