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The days of ordering a Gateway PC over the phone or online and waiting for the cow-spotted box to arrive at the doorstep are no more.

Gateway officials in Irvine, Calif.  today announced that they are changing their distribution model to focus exclusively on retailers, e-tailers
and channel partners. The move comes as parent company Acer, which bought Gateway last fall for $710 million, works to maintain its position as the world’s number-three PC maker behind Hewlett Packard and Dell. The traditionally channel-friendly Acer sells desktops and notebooks under its own brand as well as under the Gateway, eMachines, and Packard Bell nameplates.

The company issued a statement Friday saying the change will simplify Gateway’s
business model and deliver significant cost savings. Gateway’s e-commerce website will remain active through Saturday, a company spokesman said. After that, Gateway PCs will be available exclusively through reseller partners as well as at retail outlets such as Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA,
Costco, HSN, Newegg, Tiger Direct, Office Depot, OfficeMax, and Wal-Mart.

“We believe that our retail and e-tail
partners offer consumers the best, easiest and most effective way to
purchase Gateway products,” Mark Hill,
Acer Group’s U.S. general manager said in a statement. “We are shifting Gateway’s
distribution method to better align with Acer’s
successful global strategy, which was built upon an indirect model. As
the only top-tier PC company without a competing U.S. direct sales
force, our commitment to the channel is unparalleled in the industry.”

An undetermined number of layoffs are expected at Gateway as a result of the change, according to sources familiar with the plans. Several competing models across the Acer portfolio may also be on the chopping block, the sources said.