Carl Symon, chief executive of IBM UK, has said that Big Blue was faced with an "irreversible trend" and had no choice but to start selling direct.
Last month, Big Blue announced that UK customers can order PCs, notebooks and servers directly over the Web, following in the footsteps of rivals Dell and Compaq. Symon predicted the trend to sell direct "will grow dramatically".
Symon said UK statistics this year show that "$3bn-plus (£1.9bn) will be spent on e-commerce. Projections will be three times that for next year - some $10bn will be spent over the Net."
Symon said he believes the UK is in a good position to become a leader in the global economy. "The UK says it wants to do it, it is doing the right things, but the biggest challenge is how it's going to do it," he said.
Asked how much focus IBM will place on the PC in the future, Symon said there will still be a big demand, but "the window to the digital world is through devices other than PCs, such as mobile phones and pagers".
Symon said IBM has the advantage because "the PC is not getting any easier to use. It is still complicated and relatively expensive. It does not have the mobility and simplicity of a WAP phone."
According to Symon, next year will be a good one for IBM. But he is cautiously positive that 2000 will offer growth in the UK and around the world.
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