Michael Hammond Gateway Co-Founder Dead Aged 53

Gateway, the computer maker co-founded by Michael Hammond that he began in a farmhouse in Iowa and was known for shipping products inside boxes with the design of a spotted cow, died at home is Sioux City, Iowa. Hammond was 53.

The death was confirmed by Korey Robinson a funeral home director in Iowa. A spokesperson for the medical examiner’s office in Woodbury County said that office had yet to release any autopsy results.

Hammond and Ted Waitt, who was also originally from Iowa, started Gateway while in their 20s back in 1985. Initially the business was run from the family farm of Waitt in Iowa.

The two had met one year before during a football game at the University of Iowa.

The business was originally known as Gateway 2000 and sold parts for computers prior to developing its own line of PCs and selling them to consumers directly. Its shipping boxes became highly recognizable due to their design with black and white spots that resembled Holstein cowhide.

Achieving its reputation as a provider of high-quality low cost computer equipment helped the company grow rapidly into one of the Fortune 500 companies, while employing over 10,000 people around the world and becoming a rival of Dell in the computer market known as direct to consumer.

Gateway eventually switched its headquarters to South Dakota.

It began to open retail stores as well to augment its strategy of direct to consumer.

In the early part of 2000, the company had more than 242 retail stores across the U.S. In 2002, the company reported net sales of close to $4.2 billion.

However, with increasing pressure being felt form Dell and resurgence by Apple in the PC market, business stalled at Gateway.

The retail outlets proved costly while profits dropped. The company started to shutter stores and cut jobs and in 2004, all its retail stores were closed.

In 2007, the company was sold to Acer the company based in Taiwan for $710 million.

 

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