IBM will follow in the footsteps of rivals Dell and Compaq by letting UK customers order PCs, notebooks and servers directly over the Web.
The vendor, which has until now sold indirectly in the UK, said customers shopping via the Internet will get a range of special offers including desktop PCs starting at £646 and its Thinkpad notebook starting at just over £1000.
Customers ordering by 20 December are guaranteed delivery before Christmas.
Doug LeGrande, general manager of IBM PC Group in Europe, commented: "Customers have been asking IBM for more choice and convenience in the way they purchase computer systems."
He added: "The Web and telephone sales enable IBM to fully address the needs of customers, offering great quality products at attractive prices, as well as giving more choice and convenience in the way they purchase computer systems."
Analysts said many of the indirect PC vendors have made similar moves, but IBM has been the slowest to implement this strategy.
Chris Jones, senior analyst with IT researcher Canalys, commented: "Fax/phone/mail order purchasing is popular in the UK. The Internet is the next logical step."
He added: "IBM and others are looking for a more efficient and cost effective strategy, whether this includes the channel or not. The model of box shifting has been changing for a while and the channel has been looking to add value where it can. [The channel] should be ready for this, and the ones that don't react to this shift may start finding life tough," he said.
IBM distributors in the UK include Computer 2000, Ingram Micro and Computacenter. Major resellers include Computacenter, SCC, Tplc and Elcom.
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