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Preorder Windows XP systems from Gateway

PC World
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By Matt Berger

(IDG) -- To boost sales of its PCs, Gateway says it began taking orders Tuesday for new computers running the Windows XP operating system, less than two weeks after the computer maker got its hands on the operating system's code.

Customers in the U.S. can place orders for new computers through Gateway's direct sales channels on the Internet or by phone. The early-buyers program sets the company up for delivering PCs running the anticipated operating system to customers by the end of the month, well before the official launch of the software on Oct. 25, says Mike Ritter, Gateway's director of product marketing.

Beefy XP Systems

Gateway plans to sell the new operating system on Pentium 4 machines configured with 128MB of RAM, a 20GB hard drive, and a 17-inch monitor, according to Ritter. The company currently offers its Pentium 4 machines at the entry-level price of $1,199, but has not released pricing for the XP-based machines.

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"We expect to be a little aggressive on the price," Ritter says.

Lower-end machines, including Pentium III machines, running Windows XP will also be offered sometime before the operating systems' official launch, he adds.

The company also says it will now offer demonstrations of its computers running the Windows XP operating system at its Gateway Country retail stores. No date has been set for when Gateway will begin selling the machines in the retail stores.

Code Just Out The Door

Microsoft released the final "Gold" code of Windows XP to PC makers less than two weeks ago during a publicized event at the company's headquarters. Some major PC makers say they plan to test and debug the code on their machines in order to ship new computers through direct channels this month.

PC makers as well as Microsoft have launched intensive marketing campaigns around Windows XP to drive sales of new machines in connection with the operating system release. Microsoft says it plans to spend more than $200 million on marketing its software.

The industry is banking on the new operating system to reinvigorate slumping PC sales, according to analysts. Gateway has been hit especially hard by the downturn; it announced last week that it would trim nearly a quarter of its worldwide work force and ceased operations in some markets outside of the U.S.





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