Shuttle Brand Goes Direct

The Shuttle Computer Group, which provides system builders with components and barebones small form factor computers, last month decided to start selling its branded small-business, home-user, media center and gaming systems direct to end users.

Albert Chang, marketing manager of the City of Industry, Calif.-based vendor, said its barebones computers and components will still be channel-only. Rather than hurting its channel customers, he said Shuttle's direct move will help. "We are in essence doing a lot of marketing for the reseller market," he said.

>> Foxconn, FIC and Shuttle will show new small form factor systems at the Computex exhibition.

But Phil McGourty, CEO of Amazin Webs, a Gladwin, Mich.-based system builder who partners with Shuttle, said any vendor that sells to OEMs and solution providers and expects channel partners to be happy with a direct-sales move is "dead wrong," even though he noted that Shuttle is selling its systems at higher prices than he is.

"They're competing with us now," McGourty said. "That's ridiculous. %85 It's already hard enough when people walk in with low prices in their hand. Now I gotta compete with Shuttle."

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At the Computex exhibition this week in Taipei, Taiwan, several vendors will be showing new small form factor systems that will be available soon to U.S. system builders.

Foxconn, Fullerton, Calif., will show a prototype series of small form factor systems scheduled to ship later this year. The case bottom serves as a heat sink.

For hard-core gamers, the system is portable and has a built-in handle and an extra PCI slot, said Dave Eliasberg, director of new product development at Foxconn. For system builders, the system's motherboard can be easily upgraded. A variety of cases and colors will be available, he said.

Also at the show, First International Computer of America, Fremont, Calif., will display its Condor gaming PC. The Intel version is already available through D&H, and an AMD version is expected shortly.

Shuttle will show a new chassis with improved cooling and interior room, as well as a 17-inch LCD monitor with a built-in handle.