IBM Retreats Into Cyberspace

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No more bricks, no more mortar. In a stunning move, the company that brought us the PCjr way back in 1983 is yanking its desktop computers from conventional retail stores. From now on, IBM's PCs will be available only through web sites. The radical shift is an effort to sidestep the prohibitive costs of offline distribution, but could it be something more? Is it the beginning of the end for the storefront?

Nobody has worked harder than IBM to make the PC a fixture in the average American home, and nobody has done it more clumsily. The PCjr, a scaled-down version of IBM's business product, was one of the first mass-market PCs, but through a combination of poor manufacturing standards and ham-handed marketing it tanked with consumers and became a financial liability. MORE >>