What Should be Done with Gateway?

What has become of Gateway? Are they a computer company? An electronics company? A digital camera and flat screen superstore? I have been watching the various twists and turns that this company has endured and I am beginning to think that the company is in the midst of a serious identity crisis.

Gateway will not be a leader in personal or business computing – Gateway will not re-establish itself as a leader in personal or business computing. The company does not have the operational capabilities of a Dell or the “ooh” design factor of Apple. Without a strong, low-cost logistics and manufacturing capability or the ability to charge a devoted user base a premium for well-designed products, I am not sure how Gateway will compete and win in these meetings.

Personal electronics is an incredibly competitive business – I think that Gateway is doing the right thing by looking for markets outside of personal and business computing. However, I am not sure that Gateway will be able to establish itself as a leader in the market for digital cameras, televisions, and other consumer electronics. By trying to enter this market, Gateway will be competing head-on with online giants like Amazon and offline bigbox retailers like Best Buy. I have not seen the details of Gateway’s strategy for carving its own niche in this market, but they have certainly chosen a challenging path.

The IT landscape is littered with companies that shone brightly for awhile, only to fade away when business conditions changed. It will be interesting to see if Gateway joins that community.