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Gateway Disbands Direct Marketer Unit

Gateway has disbanded its group focused on direct marketers such as CDW, Gateway officials confirmed on Wednesday.

CDW and other direct marketers that have been selling Gateway will no longer carry inventory or fixed SKUs. Effective immediately, Gateway is doing only custom-to-order (CTO) business through direct marketers, said Tiffani Bova, the Irvine, Calif.-based company's director of channel strategy.

The direct marketer changes will not impact Gateway's partnerships with VARs, according to Bova. "None of that changes," she said. "We are committed to our channel partners."

Gateway has mounted an aggressive channel assault over the last year. The company has made a host of channel program enhancements aimed at VARs, including deal registration, market alignment funds, dedicated field resources, and improved pricing and margins.

Gateway had longtime relationships with most of the direct marketers, including CDW, PC Mall, Insight and Zones. Gateway executives felt the investment in time, resources and money surrounding the direct marketers could be better spent elsewhere, sources said.

At press time, direct marketers including CDW, Insight and Zones couldn't be reached for comment.

Some VARs said the changes could have a positive impact on Gateway partners, which will no longer face price competition from CDW and other direct marketers.

"I commend Gateway for recognizing that most direct marketers tarnish margins for solution providers, who actually add value," said John Marks, CEO of JDM Infrastructure, a Rosemont, Ill.- based Gateway partner. "This may cause other manufacturers to look at the true return on investment through direct marketers."

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