An Underserved Market

By eweek  |  Posted 2005-06-17 Print this article Print

So what weve done is looked at what largely is an underserved market, which is the small business market. Its underserved by all accounts … so we look at it as a real opportunity for us to address the general needs of the small business customer as well as verticals. Were looking at vertical markets within the small business area that we believe we can serve very nicely. Its a work in progress for us and well be launching it within the next 30 days.
Theres really two parts of the small business market, one where the customer is very technically adept and will make a decision just on the value they receive from a particular provider.
The other customer is a vertical customer that is currently being underserved. They have to go out and seek an integrator or a small VAR [value-added reseller] to help them create a complete solution. Yet most of them are very well-heeled. Some of them would be personal financial advisers, independent insurance agents, the whole independent medical industry. … All these verticals have told us that if there was some way that a company could address their needs by putting together hardware and these VARs and/or integrators, it would be of tremendous service to them. They really dont have the wherewithal to figure out how to screen and how to go through the selection of these service providers. Thats kind of the core of our strategy in the small business area when it comes to addressing verticals. Its creating these relationships for our vertical base. In this changing PC landscape, where does Gateway fit in, and how do recent changes—in particular, Lenovo [Group Ltd.] buying IBMs PC business—impact Gateway? In the PC landscape, there currently is only one company that can efficiently address the professional, commercial, business market. At this point, that is Dell. I believe well be the other company able to serve this market efficiently. I believe well put ourselves into a position where our business model and our ability to execute, without excuses, will be a business model or organization that will be very, very attractive [compared] to any other PC brand in the world. So youre not particularly concerned with Lenovo? No. IBM could not make the business work, and thats why they sold it. They just couldnt make it work. I believe we can. I also think that people, frankly, are underestimating the difficulties that IBM and Lenovo are going to have in terms of culture. … I spent four and a half years managing IBM for AT&T, so I know IBM very well. So the [IBM] folks in North Carolina and the folks in Boca Raton [Fla.] are going to have some major culture shocks in terms of cost structure, priorities, how they are going to get things done. We should not underestimate that. Next Page: Global ambitions.


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