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Whether for myself, friends, family or places I’ve worked, I’ve purchased probably 100 computers from Gateway since 1990. They were one of about a zillion online retailers back then, but over time that huge crowd thinned out somewhat into a few major players, with Gateway and Dell ending up at the top head of the pack. But the PC world is now one direct seller short: Gateway has, as of today, closed their online sales division. Now, if you want a Gateway, you have to go to a retail or some other e-tail store to get one. More after the clicky thingie…

Ah, the good old days, when it was Gateway 2000 and they had an icky, gold, stylized ‘G’ logo embossed on their keyboards. Then came the cow box days along with the question “Computers from Iowa?!”. Then the 2000 mysteriously disappeared and it was just Gateway.

Things seemed to be going along swimmingly…so much in fact that the next thing you know, there were Gateway retail stores seemingly everywhere, where you could even walk in and buy a preconfig’d machine without the 2-4 week wait. Sweet!

But then things started to turn a bit South & Sour. The stores weren’t doing so well and just as soon as they started appearing, they started disappearing. For a while, it seemed like Gateway might disappear altogether. But in the last few years they seemed to be keeping up with, if not setting, trends in the PC market and even had some products that people outright loved, like their 30″ widescreen display.

Let’s be honest, though…there isn’t any PC market segment that Gateway had managed to capture. Dell had the server market. IBM / Lenovo the business laptops. HP the consumer desktop and laptop markets. Sony with the high-end / weird-end laptops. Alienware is the super-gaming king. Etc. All the while, Gateway’s just been playing along but not really making waves.

Then last fall, Taiwanese PC maker Acer purchased Gateway in a bid to compete in the U.S. with Dell and HP here. Acer. You remember them…they were the company, along with Packard Bell in the mid-’90s who made, like, the worst computers EVar. Blech.

But what’s done is done and Gateway will no longer be selling computers via direct sales. I’m kinda sad, to be honest. I bought a new Gateway last summer as my main home machine. It’s a decent computer, really. I’ve always liked the components that Gateway’s chosen and how they put a case together, because they’ve typically been much easier to work inside of than those by Dell or some other companies.

That said, when my Mom’s PC went out earlier this year, I just went to Best Buy and got her an HP. What can I say…they make good PCs for the average user, with good features, for not a lot of scratch.

So much for the (big) little guy. Sigh.