Gateway to Acquire eMachines: Q&A With Gateway's Jocelyne Attal
At the end of January, Gateway Inc. (www.gateway.com) announced plans to acquire eMachines Inc. (www.emachines.com), a maker of affordable PCs. The acquisition, while still pending regulatory approval, will create the third largest U.S. PC maker and the eighth largest PC company in the world. The combined company plans to leverage eMachines' established retail relationships and low-cost distribution model. Under the agreement, Wayne Inouye, president and CEO of eMachines, will become Gateway's chief executive and named to the company's board of directors. Gateway will sell desktops and notebooks under the eMachines brand only through third-party retail channels in the United States and abroad. In addition, Gateway's Professional Division will be able to extend the new product lines into the value-based PC category for its business, government and education customers. To find out how the acquisition will affect the education market, we turned to Gateway's EVP of Business Jocelyne Attal.
T.H.E. Journal: How will the acquisition affect the education market, and what will be the biggest benefit to schools?
Jocelyne Attal: Gateway is currently the No. 2 market-share leader in the education market (according to IDC), so we feel we have close relationships with many key education customers and decision-makers. One of the areas [that our customers have] asked us to improve upon is offering a value-based PC at the lower end of the market. This acquisition ... will likely solve that need and bring enormous value to our education customers.
T.H.E.: How will the acquisition affect schools that are already using Gateway computers?
Attal: Gateway customers will enjoy the same levels of service and support they've had to date. We do expect that when [the acquisition is] complete customers will benefit from new products and services, and a more competitive Gateway eager to fulfill their needs. One important point is that with this acquisition, Gateway would become the No. 3 PC maker in the country, which means greater leverage when negotiating with suppliers. Ultimately, this means we would be able to pass on those savings to customers.
T.H.E.: With wireless technology on the rise, are desktops still desirable for schools?
Attal: Desktops will certainly continue to be a key component of Gateway's PC sales to schools. The primary reasons are cost and serviceability, which are important to school technology administrators. However, Gateway is continually looking for ways to bring innovation in desktops to its education customers, such as unique form factors and other tailored education-focused solutions.
- Matthew Miller