Long live the Gateway cow spots!

Long live the Gateway cow spots!

Summary: Ok, so Acer is buying Gateway. Tech blogger Tom Ricker at Engadget wonders, "Could we now get rid of the cow spots, please? It's not 1985 anymore". Udderly preposterous, I say. Long live the cow spots! Maybe Acer could even change their stock symbol to COW for greater brand recognition. Moo.

TOPICS: Amazon

gateway2.jpgIn 1985, Ted Waitt and his pal Mike Hammond started selling computers out of a barn. Starting with a $10,000 loan guaranteed by his grandmother, a rented computer and a three-page business plan, they grew Gateway into a $10 billion company at its peak in 2000, with a global work force of 24,000 employees.

Ted led a Holstein cow onto the floor of the NY stock exchange in 1997 when Gateway stock began trading there. Boxes plastered with the company's "cow spots" logo were delivered around the company, as ubiquitous as Amazon's "smirk" is today. I remember going to the grand opening of one of their retail stores in Raleigh NC, which was complete with a cow and a handler. Boy, the stories that guy could tell (the handler, not the cow).

After the tech bubble burst, Gateway struggled to re-invent itself but never managed to retain its former glory. Ted left the company in 2005, but is still a major shareholder. His Waitt Family Foundation has, among other things, helped send hundreds of at-risk students to college.

Acer Inc., a Taiwan-based PC vendor, announced today it was buying Gateway for $710 million, or $1.90 per share. While this is a significant premium over the closing price of $1.21 per share, it seems like a bargain when you factor in the value of the Gateway brand. Packard Bell and eMachines will also go into the mix, and the combined company will hold, at least briefly, the #3 spot (pun intended) in the U.S. market.

Tech blogger Tom Ricker at Engadget wonders, "Could we now get rid of the cow spots, please? It's not 1985 anymore". Udderly preposterous, I say. Long live the cow spots! Maybe Acer could even change their stock symbol to COW for greater brand recognition. Moo.

Topic: Amazon

Ed Burnette

About Ed Burnette

Ed Burnette is a software industry veteran with more than 25 years of experience as a programmer, author, and speaker. He has written numerous technical articles and books, most recently "Hello, Android: Introducing Google's Mobile Development Platform" from the Pragmatic Programmers.

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  • I don't know about . . .

    The COW tag on the exchange, but I agree with you. Someone certainly needs to lighten up! Not everything needs to be serious . . .

    And the Spots are a matter of taste. If he doesn't like them, he can paint over them when the box arrives at his home. Maybe we can get Gateway to throw in a free Small can of White Spray paint (Non-toxic, of course) with every purchase . . . :)
    • On second thought . . .

      They could be just like Dell and, if you check a box on the website when you order, you can get your own designer color, just spray it on!!! ;)
  • Sad Day

    I always thought of Gateway computers as a breath of fresh air compared to the mundane offerings from Dell and HP that seem to be designed for corporate use and sold to consumers as an afterthought. They took chances whether it be the first media-centric destination PC in the 90s or the first sub-$3000 plasma TV.

    It is a sign of the times though, PCs are no longer cool and exciting they are just another appliance to most people similar to a refrigerator or a washing machine.
    • Cut out the sentimentality

      You should have bought more Gateway when you had a chance. But you probably
      bought Dell or whatever cheap PC your disloyal conscience told you to buy at the time.

      Gateway going the way of the Dodo is part and parcel of the commodity credo that PC
      consumers live by. You buy the cheapest PC and you don't care if it's from Gateway
      or Dell or Lenovo. Eventually you'll be buying PCs so cheap that only the most corrupt
      governments will be the only ones who can afford to produce them. They'll cut
      corners in human rights and environmental laws just to sell you your ultra cheap PC.
  • Customer Service concerns

    One of the reasons that I went with a Gateway instead of an HP or a Dell when I purchased my laptop (which I LIVE on...) is because when I need to call Gateway about something, I prefer to get a voice that I can understand - ie, one that speaks English first. I know that sounds a bit bigoted, but if you have a problem with your hardware, and you don't build or work on computers (as I don't, I'm strictly a user), you want to be able to understand what the people on the phone are telling you. I worry that by merging with another company that any future cusomter service calls will land on foreign lands, leading my ultimate frustration.

    And, btw, I like the cow spots. When I ordered my computer, I had it delivered to my office so I could play with it when it arrived (one of the first convertable Tablet PCs...it is so sweet), and I have to tell you, I was giddy as a child on Christmas when I saw the UPS guy walking in with the cow print box. I knew my new computer was here. Awesome.

    But even if you don't like them, I don't see how it's an issue worthy of argument. It's not like the computer is white with black spots or anything. It's just a box. You throw it away eventually anyway.
  • Cows and kids

    I always thought the cow spots were a cute way to get kids interested in computers. Smaller kids are more interested in the boxes than what's inside them anyway. Take some boxes, add a bit of imagination, and zoom...
    Ed Burnette
    • Kids ALWAYS . . .

      play with the box more than the toy . . .

      That's 'cause they're more fun than the toy, in most cases . . .
  • Beef Chow Mein Kampf

    Only place which can afford to sustain the cheap prices Americans want of their PCs
    will be Communist China, which has a low waged labor force.

    Just remember when you buy your $400 PC that it's brought to you by a child or
    concentration camp prisoner.
    • I'm sorry...

      ... I bought this Acer Aspire 3000 on clearance from Circuit City at $399 (including rebate). Since it came from Taiwan, I beg you to show me how it is made, or comes from any form of slave labor; child or adult.

      I have always found the Acer products to be reliable and a bit ahead of their competition. I have recommended them since around 1986, when it was known that they were the R&D division of Leading Edge.

      I also chose this model for its ease of toggling the sensory pad when I am typing without an external keyboard and mouse. Other brands require a lot more tweaking to shut down the pad; Acer only utilizes Fn + F7.
  • Long live the Gateway cow spots!

    May I call your attention to the piece that they had on TV a few weeks ago...A woman went around her house and took out everything that was made in China and/or any other overseas country; either in full or had some components and put them into this 2-car garage......
    The house was virtually empty of all furniture and appliances!!!!On a lowly "home-made" table thaere was a Gateway computer!!!
    Guess that if that happens in a few months, there would be a computer in the garage, also!!!
    play nice ...puppadave
    • Taiwan != China

      nuff said
  • I'll miss a great company

    I'm composing this on a five year old first generation P4 machine with rambus memory (rambus was a mistake, but Gateway wasn't). This is a rock solid machine that I'll probably use in some way or antoher until Microsoft cuts off XP. I've never had to contact tech support. This machine has outlasted a Dell that my Dad bought around the same time and a Toshiba laptop that my brother bought two years later. I intended to replace it next year, and Gateway would have been my first choice. I doubt I'll buy an ACER. Can't stand them. Talk about cheap junk. What other choices do we have any more? It's too bad that it now comes down to Dell, HP, Levono and, god forbid, Apple. I'll probably just go ahead and bulid the damn thing myself.
  • RE: Long live the Gateway cow spots!

    Now that's giving Ricker teat for tat.

    My first personal PC compatible (1989) was a Gateway 386 20Mhz 4 MB memory 20 MB hard drive. That and PC Mag (specially the ads) taught me everything I needed to know to stay up and running for the next ten years.