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Gateway gets swallowed up as Acer—and everybody else—tries to catch up with computer giant Hewlett-Packard.
F

arewell, Gateway

"Gateway is gone," says Fortune's David Kirkpatrick in CNNMoney.com. And I'll miss it. Tech writers "once spent lots of time with Gateway and its personable, idiosyncratic founder Ted Waitt." But as rival Dell snared business customers, "Gateway never really escaped its roots as a consumer company"—which led Taiwan's Acer to buy it to get "traction as a U.S. consumer brand." As "a Taiwanese company passes a Chinese one" to become the No. 3 PC maker, the lesson is that the tech industry "has irrevocably become" global, and "the great era of U.S. dominance" has "finally come to an end."

In buying Gateway, Acer could now "become a force in the U.S. market," says Brian Caulfield in Forbes.com. "But the opportunity window will be tight," especially as Hewlett-Packard relaunches its Compaq brand. Gateway is merely the "latest casualty" in the surprising HP juggernaut. Under CEO Carly Fiorina, who engineered te HP-Compaq merger, and then Mark Hurd, HP has "turned the PC business into a horror show for Dell and Gateway." That 2001 merger was forecast for failure, and Fiorina was later ousted. "Some failure."

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