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.”
The closings announcement came a week after an executive shake-up that saw most high-level management positions at Gateway assumed by former eMachines executives. Gateway founder and CEO Ted Waitt had stepped aside and let eMachines CEO Wayne Inouye assume the post when the deal closed March 11. Waitt will remain as chairman. Gateway then announced that several executives brought in by Waitt over the past year will leave the company.
Gateway also announced it is moving its headquarters from Poway, in suburban San Diego, to Orange County, near eMachines former Irvine, Calif., base.
Among those executives departing are Joe Formichelli, vice president of operations and a three-decade industry veteran with such companies as IBM and Toshibas Computer Systems Group, and Jocelyne Attal, a former IBM executive hired as executive vice president for business to oversee Gateways push in the small-to-midsize-business space.
Steve Phillips, Gateways senior vice president and CIO, also will leave the company, according to officials.
Adam Andersen, who served as executive vice president and chief operating officer at eMachines, is now senior vice president and chief operating officer at Gateway. Bob Davidson, former executive vice president of global product planning, is senior vice president overseeing Gateways U.S. retail push.
In addition, Ed Fisher is Gateways senior vice president of product planning after coming over from eMachines as that companys senior vice president of global sales operations. John Goldsberry is moving from eMachines chief financial officer post to senior vice president for business development at Gateway, and Greg Memo, now senior vice president for platform development and operations at Gateway, had been eMachines executive vice president in the same space.
Still, not all Gateway executives will be filing out the door. Rod Sherwood will remain as senior vice president and CFO, and Scott Weinbrandt will be senior vice president, professional. Weinbrandt had been senior vice president and general manager of Gateways enterprise systems division and professional business services division.
Regardless of the shifts, the bottom line will be how Gateways customers buy into the new Gateway, and support will play a large role.
“As far as the management goes, as long as I dont notice it in support, I dont care,” NSLs Boothe said.