Gateway Announces Trade-In Policy

Monday, August 7th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — In an industry first, Gateway Inc. is now offering to credit customer trade-ins of competitors' PCs toward the purchase of one of its new systems.

The San Diego-based company, which sells computers over the Internet and through its Gateway Country stores, will offer consumers and businesses the fair-market trade-in value of any Pentium processor-class desktop computers running at 75 megahertz or higher.

By Sept. 30, the company will extend the program to all PCs, spokesman Brian Williams said Friday.

Of course trade-in credit will be negligible if the computer is obsolete — and is turned in at Gateway's instructions to a recycling center rather than the company.

``It makes sense,'' Williams said of the offer. ``You aren't limited to the type of car you trade in at a car dealership, so why should you be limited to a brand of computer?''

Gateway is the fourth-largest PC seller in the country, behind Dell Computer Corp., Compaq Computer Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co., according to recently released figures from research firms Dataquest and IDC.

Like some other manufacturers, Gateway has long accepted its own PCs as trade-ins toward new machines. But U.S. personal computer sales have been lagging recently.

According to Dataquest and IDC, U.S. computer sales have slowed sharply in the past six months as corporate customers debate whether to upgrade and consumers ponder the need for expensive replacements.

Part of the reason: Computer sellers have shied away from the heavy rebates and costly price wars that boosted consumer sales sharply last year but cut into corporate profits.

And businesses are evaluating Microsoft's Windows 2000 operating systems to determine if they need to buy new equipment.

Analysts have noted consumers also have become confused by the dizzying array of options offered on new purchases, particularly in light of the rivalry between computer chipmakers Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. that has sped up the rollout of faster systems.