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Gateway Dumps '2000,' Keeps Cows

In an effort build up its business customer base, computer maker Gateway last week officially dropped the "2000" from its name and spruced up its logo. The changes come in advance of an aggressive new advertising campaign aimed primarily at businesses. The company will restructure in the coming year and plans to move its administrative offices to San Diego. While Gateway wishes to maintain its down-to-earth look and feel, the company also wants to send a message that Gateway is constantly evolving to meet business and consumer needs. To many customers, Gateway is to computers as Saturn is to automobiles. Since the company's inception in 1985, Gateway has earned a reputation for down-home friendliness. Ted Waitt, Gateway's chairman and CEO, feels that the company can expand its small business market and still retain that reputation. "Gateway is evolving just as our clients' needs are evolving," Waitt said. "Our close relationship with our clients has allowed us to quickly recognize shifts in how they use PCs. More than ever before, consumers and business users are looking for solutions that are tailored to their specific requirements -- technology that adapts to them, rather than forces them to adapt. This has always been our approach and the key to our success. The new campaign reflects this strategy." According to Jeff Weitzen, Gateway president and COO, the campaign also demonstrates an evolving company, though Gateway still wants to retain its customer-friendly reputation. "Gateway is serious and strategic about meeting the computing needs of the home and businesses while continuing to be friendly, trustworthy and down-to-earth," Weitzen said. The new logo, consisting of a hand-drawn carton covered in black and white cow spots, will continue to reflect the company's affinity for dairy cow. A new green-lettered Gateway logo appears next to the box. According to a company spokesman, Green was chosen as "representative of growth, momentum and vitality." The advertising campaign, which premiered prime time Thursday, features Gateway employees helping customers search for a customized computer. The tagline for the spot is "Let's talk about your Gateway." Print ads will follow in business and computer publications in the coming months. The move is a critical one for Gateway because the small business market almost certainly will be the next big area of growth for the company. It is estimated that sales of computers to small businesses will jump nearly a third in the next 12 months. Though Gateway already has a respectable share of the small business market, the company is faced with increasing competition from direct-sales competitor Dell. It is important for Gateway not only to retain its stake this market, but to grow with it. As customer profits increase, so can Gateway's as it changes to meet small business customer needs. Beginning this week, Gateway will offer a system for small businesses featuring a 266-MHz Pentium II processor, a 5 GB hard disk drive, 32 MB of memory, CD-ROM, and a 15-inch monitor for $1,499, or a similar system delivered with a 333-MHz system, an 8 GB hard disk drive and a 17-inch monitor for under $2,000.

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