Eckhard Pfeiffer, chief executive of Compaq, defended his company's sales model at the Comdex 98 show today, claiming service and support capabilities would win out over the direct vendors in the end.
In a keynote presentation, Pfeiffer took a swipe at the critics who have said Compaq is unable to compete effectively with Dell and other direct vendors.
"Compaq is becoming a global IT solutions company with strengths and capabilities that no PC only company can match," he said.
He quoted a recent report from financial analyst Salomon Smith Barney that said Dell did not have the optimum sales model, that in fact a hybrid model mixing third party resellers and direct sales was the best model.
According to the analyst, this has the benefit of allowing, "sales through whichever channel the customer prefers".
Pfeiffer noted that in 1997, according to analysts Dataquest, Compaq sold 11.5 million computers compared to the 7.5 million of IBM and 4.5 million of Dell.
Last week Compaq announced a number of laptop and PC models would be sold direct in the US through the Directplus programme.
Pfeiffer claimed this offered laptop computers at prices below any of the competition and turning around in five business days. He said these came with services and support offerings that companies like Dell and Gateway simply could not match.
Last week Dell revealed its latest solid quarterly results, in which it pointed out it was now selling $10 million a day of hardware over the Internet.
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