Gateway

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Founded September 5, 1985
Founder(s) Ted Waitt and Mike Hammond
Industry Electronics
Products Hardware & Software
Website http://www.gateway.com/

Gateway Is a computer hardware company based in Irvine, California, which develops, manufactures, supports, and markets a wide range of personal computers, computer monitors, servers, and computer accessories. It became a well-known brand in 1991 when it started shipping its computer hardware in cow-spotted boxes and for its creative advertising in Computer Shopper and other magazines. In the early and mid-2000s, the company struggled; after years as a fixture on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies worldwide, the company was not listed in 2006, having dropped to number 508.

AOL acquired Gateway.net, the online component of Gateway, Inc., in October 1999 for US$800 million.[1]

On September 4, 2007 Gateway announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to sell its professional business segment to MPC Corporation. This includes the company's Nashville-based configuration center.[2]

On October 16, 2007, Acer Inc. completed its acquisition of Gateway for approximately US$710 million.[3] Its closing US$1.90 share price is far below the US$4 average Gateway held in the mid 1990s and drastically below a high of US$84 in late 1999. The US$1.90 per share is just barely over half of the split adjusted IPO price of US$3.75 in 1993.


Company History

Gateway was founded on September 5, 1985, on a farm outside Sioux City, Iowa, by Ted Waitt and Mike Hammond. Originally called Gateway 2000, it was one of the first widely successful direct sales PC companies, utilizing a sales model copied from Dell, and playing up its Iowa roots with low-tech advertisements proclaiming "Computers from Iowa?". Shipping computers in spotted boxes patterned after cow markings (specifically, Holstein cows) became a Gateway standard. In 1989 Gateway moved its corporate offices and production facilities to North Sioux City, South Dakota. In line with the Holstein cow mascot, Gateway opened a chain of retail stores called Gateway Country Stores, mostly in suburban areas across the United States. It dropped the "2000" from its name on October 31, 1998.

In 1998, Gateway relocated from North Sioux City, South Dakota to San Diego, California and then in 2001 made another move to Poway, California. After acquiring eMachines in 2004, Gateway again relocated their corporate headquarters to Irvine, California.

Gateway purchased the Amiga assets from Escom in 1997 and since 2000, this Amiga intellectual property has been licensed to Amiga, Inc..

Gateway struggled after the dot-com bust and tried several strategies to return to profitability, including withdrawal from international markets, reduction in the number of retail stores and most significantly, entering the consumer electronics business. However, none of these efforts were particularly successful from a financial standpoint, and Gateway continued to suffer major losses as well as market share in the PC business. By April 1, 2004, Gateway had announced that it would shut down its 188 remaining stores.

On March 11, 2004, Gateway purchased low-cost PC marketer eMachines, for US$30 million in cash and 50 million shares of stock, valuing the deal at approximately US$262 million with announced intentions to keep the eMachines brand.[9] Gateway had hopes that eMachines' retail channel strength would complement its own strengths in consumer and business direct channels. Through the deal, founder Ted Waitt turned over day-to-day responsibilities and the CEO role to eMachines' CEO, Wayne Inouye, and remained as chairman through May 2005. Inouye announced his resignation as CEO on February 9, 2006; Chairman Richard Snyder served as interim CEO until September 7, 2006 when J. Edward Coleman was brought in as the new CEO. Gateway still sells both Gateway and eMachines brand computers through retail vendors like Circuit City, Best Buy, TigerDirect, Wal-Mart, and CompUSA. Its Gateway brand products continued to be available in direct channels.

Like most large corporations, Gateway has outsourced some of its operations, such as customer support. In 2002, Gateway expanded into the consumer electronics world with products that included plasma screen TVs, digital cameras, DLP projectors, wireless internet routers, and MP3 players. While the company enjoyed some success in gaining substantial market share from traditional leaders in the space, particularly with plasma TVs and digital cameras, the limited short-term profit potential of these product lines led then-CEO Wayne Inouye to pull the company out of that segment during 2004. Gateway still acts as a retailer selling third-party electronic goods online.

Gateway has resourced customer support within North America, priding itself as "100% North America-based support". Gateway also moved build-to-order desktop, laptop, and server manufacturing back to the United States, with the opening of its Gateway Configuration Center in Nashville, Tennessee in September 2006. It employed 385 people in that location. As of April 2007 Gateway notebook computers were produced in China and its desktops had "made in Mexico" stickers.

On October 16, 2007, Acer completed its acquisition of Gateway for US$710 million. J.T. Wang, the company's chairman, said in a statement that the acquisition "completes Acer's global footprint, by strengthening our U.S. presence."

On July 27, 2008, Gateway ended all direct sales from Gateway.com and phone orders. All new Gateway products could now only be purchased from major retailers and on other online sites.

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Labor

Gateway is one of the major purchasers of electronics produced at the Lite-On Computer Technology production facility in Shijie Town, Dongguan Province, China (founded 1997).[1] By early 2008, the facility employed about 5000 people who enter the company by paying agencies based in Shijie town, Dongguan, 500-600 yuan (for men) or 200 yuan (for women). [1] While Lite-On production schedules follow a normal 8-hour workday, breaks consist of only 10 minutes twice a day and are unpaid – further, overtime work in the evenings, on weekends, and especially during busy seasons, is mandatory and can reach up to 100 hours a month, in violation of both Chinese Labor Law and the EICC standard. [1] Basic wages at Lite-On complied with Chinese minimum wage laws (690 yuan/month in 2007), but until mid-to-late 2007 when overtime began being paid at twice the standard weekend rate (8.24 yuan/hour) the company violated overtime wage laws by paying over 2 yuan less per hour. [1] A fire in the factory in February of 2008 has caused workers to be extremely concerned about their safety, and as of May 2008 production had not yet fully resumed at full capacity due to the damage the fire had caused. [1] Workers are charged up to one quarter of their wages on food, electricity, and water for eating and living in the factory dormitories, which house up to 16 people per room. [1] Research conducted by [SACOM] and [Bread for All] in early 2008 concluded that workers at Lite-On were unaware of their rights under either [EICC] standards or any of the codes of conduct of Lite-On’s customers, including Gateway.[1]

Lite-On Xuji Electronics Co., Ltd. Is a keyboard manufacturer based in Dongguan, China. The factory was founded in 1995, and while Dell is its major buyer, Lite-On Xuji sells keyboards to Acer, Apple, Foxconn, Gateway, HP, IBM, Lenovo, Logitech, Microsoft, NEC, Sony, and Toshiba.[2] According to a 2008 report conducted by SACOM and Bread for All, the factory employed 3000 workers who work between 10 and 12 hours a day.[2] The factory began paying workers legal wages and overtime wages in 2008, while they had been paying illegally low wages in 2006 and 2007.[3] However, workers continue to work more than 100 overtime hours per month, well about the legal limit of 36 overtime hours monthly.[3] Due to long hours standing, repetitive tasks, and high work speed, workers suffer from swollen legs, back pain, and other repetitive motion injuries, as well as irritation from paint and paint thinner fumes name="high tech 31-2"> Jenny Chan, the Research Team of SACOM, and Bread for All. May 2008. “High Tech – No Rights? A One Year Follow-up Report on Working Conditions in China’s Electronic Hardware Sector.” P. 31-2.</ref>. Despite these problems, Xuji factory has no program in place to “identify, evaluate, and control the hazards that arise from physically demanding work.”[3] Management threatens workers who make mistakes with the possibility of the withdrawal of factory client orders. name="high tech 31"> Jenny Chan, the Research Team of SACOM, and Bread for All. May 2008. “High Tech – No Rights? A One Year Follow-up Report on Working Conditions in China’s Electronic Hardware Sector.” P. 31.</ref> Worker dormitories are very crowded and noisy, housing 16 workers per room, who must share all facilities in common and often have trouble sleeping due to noise. name="high tech 32"> Jenny Chan, the Research Team of SACOM, and Bread for All. May 2008. “High Tech – No Rights? A One Year Follow-up Report on Working Conditions in China’s Electronic Hardware Sector.” P. 32.</ref> While workers were not aware of their labor rights under the EICC, they still “expressed the urgent need” for safety training as well as shortened standing work hours or at least longer breaks and rest periods. name="high tech 32"> Jenny Chan, the Research Team of SACOM, and Bread for All. May 2008. “High Tech – No Rights? A One Year Follow-up Report on Working Conditions in China’s Electronic Hardware Sector.” P. 32.</ref>

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Environment

A long the fight against contamination in electronic devices, specially in manufacturing computers, Gateway appears to be one of the most caremost companies involve in the area. We find not only very low contamination issues but also a very strong campaign against all the things that hurt the enviroment. [4]

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Related SourceWatch Articles

Sources

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Jenny Chan, the Research Team of Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) and Chantal Peyer (Bread for All). “High Tech – No Rights? A One Year Follow Up Report on Working Conditions in China’s Electronic Hardware Sector.” May 2008. p. 10. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name ".E2.80.9Dhightech.E2.80.9D" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name ".E2.80.9Dhightech.E2.80.9D" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name ".E2.80.9Dhightech.E2.80.9D" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name ".E2.80.9Dhightech.E2.80.9D" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name ".E2.80.9Dhightech.E2.80.9D" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name ".E2.80.9Dhightech.E2.80.9D" defined multiple times with different content
  2. 2.0 2.1 Jenny Chan, the Research Team of SACOM, and Bread for All. May 2008. “High Tech – No Rights? A One Year Follow-up Report on Working Conditions in China’s Electronic Hardware Sector.” P. 30.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Jenny Chan, the Research Team of SACOM, and Bread for All. May 2008. “High Tech – No Rights? A One Year Follow-up Report on Working Conditions in China’s Electronic Hardware Sector.” P. 31.
  4. http://www.business-humanrights.org/Search/SearchResults?SearchableText=Gateway&x=165&y=14

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