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Selling PCs through Aussie retailers is "not predictable, sustainable or profitable", according to Nerida Caesar, general manager of IBM Australia's PC division.

So the company is withdrawing from the mass merchant retail channel in Australia, as it has already done so in the US and Europe. It will disappear from big stores as of February 1, 2002.

IBM will continue to sell direct to consumers in the country through its web site and it will also maintain a high street presence through independent retailers. We don't envisage too many boxes will go through the latter channel: small retailers struggle to make money from big PC brands, having to share margin with distributors and compete with their suppliers.

Since August this year, Asia and Australia have been the last IBM redoubt for AMD-powered PCs.

On its Australian web site, the company offers Duron and Athlon (and Celeron and Pentium 4) versions of The NetVista A20i, a budget desktop range.

Will IBM's withdrawal from the mass-merchant retail channel have any impact on its commitment to retain AMD lines? AMD will have to play wait and see. ®

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