Users Back Gateways New Direction

Its acquisition of eMachines, management shake-up, store closings and layoffs have many users envisioning a strong future for the company.

Gateway Inc. users are upbeat about the continuing shake-up at the computer maker following its $290 million acquisition of eMachines Inc.

Gateway earlier this month announced it is closing its 188 retail stores by the end of the month and laying off 2,500 employees. Executives said they will expand retail operations in other ways in the United States and around the world.

"They should have closed those stores years ago. It was a huge drain on their resources," said Gateway server user Dennis Linster, CIO of Wayne State College in Wayne, Neb.

"It is, of course, unfortunate any time people lose their jobs and stores close, but in terms of how Gateway can better serve us, this is very good news for our company because we deal with the part of the company theyre expanding," said Danny James, vice president of marketing with AutoBase Inc., an Indianapolis-based software developer for the automobile sales industry. AutoBase, which has worked with Gateway for about two years, uses Gateway products ranging from high-end servers to laptops and desktop workstations in car dealerships in 46 states.

James said he sees a strong future for Gateway. "This, to me, strengthens the company and puts its resources—both human and financial—into parts of the industry not only beneficial to us but beneficial to Gateway," he said.

James said he thinks a move into larger retail distributors would be good for Gateway. "If Gateway could get into stores such as Best Buy, thats huge for the company," he said. "Imagine trying to sell Coca-Cola out of a store that just sold Coca-Cola."

For others, the stores were an entry point. "Gateways stores were what steered me toward them initially; we had service right here in town," said Michael Boothe, an IT technician at NSL Analytical Services Inc., in Valley View, Ohio. "It was nice having stores local for support, but we dont really need support that often. ... Ive had their servers for half a year, desktops for two to three years, [and] not much service done."

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