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Gateway ships 25 millionth PC

UK sales didn't help it reach the milestone

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Gateway is shipping its 25 millionth PC today, 16 years after the company started.

As is the way of such things, Gateway has selected a worthy customer to be the focus of the celebration for reaching this sales milestone. In this case its Quentin and Theresa Vasconcellos of Glendale, Arizona, who ordered the Gateway 500X PC last week for their daughters. The lucky family get regional vice president Judy Quye round at their house to set up the PC. The Vasconcellos get a free PC in return for being the poster family for Gateway.

But the celebrations can't really hide that the company is in the mire. This year Gateway announced it was pulling out of Europe and Asia Pacific, although it remains the fourth or fifth biggest PC supplier in the US.

The company is certainly much smaller and weaker financially than its main rivals - Dell, HP/Compaq and IBM. And it is less nimble than smaller system builders, supplying the so-called white label market.

In the UK it was down to selling less than 1,500 PCs a week before it fled the market - this was very small potatoes for a big US player.

The company has also just put its closed plant near Salt Lake City up for sale at the discount price of $14.5 million. Gateway laid off the plant's 660 workers as part of broader cutbacks this summer. The Salt Lake Tribune reported that the plant cost an estimated $22 million to build in 1998, according to a commercial real estate broker. ®

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