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Q&A: Acer on bringing Gateway to the UK

We speak to two leading executives from the Acer Group’s professional brand, Gateway, about how they think its latest server range will fare in the bustling UK market.

It is that time of year again in the hardware market, where both the processor companies and manufacturers release their new lines and the fight is on to see who will be the most successful.

Yesterday saw the European launch of the Acer Group's server and storage range in Milan which, unlike other competitors, based all of its products on AMD's latest Opteron processors.

The company has branded these professional products under the Gateway name and is ready to launch them in the UK. But with such a densely populated market and a lot of competition how will the famous-for-client firm get on?

We talk to the vice president of the Gateway brand, along with one of his business development managers, to find out how they plan on infiltrating the UK market and how long they think it will take for Gateway to become a household server name.

So where does Gateway, Acer's brand for professional products, stand in the UK market today?

Antonio Papale (AP): We started in the UK last year with a very, very small organisation. We only had one person but last year we only had client products [such as] PCs, notebooks etc.

With the server introduction we increased in the last part of the year [and] now we have four people working based in London and then two [more] people in the call centre in Barcelona.

Why is the Acer Group so keen to break into the UK with Gateway?

AP: For us the UK market is strategic and it is very important that we grow very, very fast because, as you know, the potential that your market has at the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) level is huge and is very important with servers.

Our ambition when we decided to launch the servers was to focus on the server business rather than client. If we manage to do the servers, we can put the client [products] in there afterwards.

Are there any specific segments, such as the public sector or retail, that you are looking to aim at?

AP: Usually when we start an operation in a country we are focused on the entire market but it is normal that if we split our activities and qualify the first level of partners it is agreed that we have more opportunity to get tenders in public administration as well as small and medium-sized business (SMB) distribution.

Our focus will be to certify very soon [the] distribution partners that we want in the UK. In this case we can cover all opportunities.

Our philosophy is to try to cover everything. But it is quite impossible. If we set up a channel soon, the same dealer can give you the opportunity to offer your product in a public tender, a private tender and so on.

John King (JK): There will be some natural verticalisation by the partners chosen. So we are only looking for a small base of partners.

If you look at our competitors in the market place they are [covering] a much larger breadth. If we chose geographically and vertically it means we have less competition. It means [partners] aren't going to be fighting against each other.

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