IBM slammed on Aptiva pullout

Big Blue under fire for Aptiva decision

IBM is facing criticism for its decision to stop selling its Aptiva desktop personal computers through retail chains in the United States in favour of selling the product over the Internet.

The move, which has been communicated to retailers over the last couple of weeks, follows IBM's decision to streamline its Personal Systems Group by cutting up to 1,000 employees in a bid to improve the profitability of the division.

With an eye on the success enjoyed by Dell selling systems over the World Wide Web, IBM is believed to be keen on finding a less expensive, more efficient way to target consumers. Sources say IBM is preparing to put more emphasis on sales via the Internet when the changes go into effect this January.

However, a spokeswoman said IBM may revisit its decision and reinstate retail sales of Aptiva at a still undetermined date in the future. "It's a temporary decision. We may go back to retailers when we figure out how to differentiate Aptivas on store shelves."

Selected retail outfits will still be able to sell the Aptiva overseas and the move will not affect sales of IBM's ThinkPad through domestic retailers.