IBM Scales Back European Phone Orders

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IBM Corp. will eliminate phone orders for its personal computers this month in the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Sweden, the company said.

The telephone staff affected by the move will be shifted to large accounts that focus on enterprise systems, IBM said. The company said it will refer individuals and small- to medium-sized businesses looking to make purchases to its channel partners.

IBM staff was notified of the decision to cut back direct sales of PCs in Europe the same day the company announced an agreement to outsource part of its personal computer manufacturing needs to Sanmina-SCI. Sanmina-SCI also will acquire IBM's NetVista desktop manufacturing operations in the United States and Europe.

IBM currently manufactures its NetVista desktop computers in Research Triangle Park, NC, for customers in the United States and Canada and has the line manufactured on its behalf in Greenock, Scotland, and elsewhere in Europe for customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

IBM will continue to design and market the NetVista line of desktops, and has signed a three-year, $5 billion outsourcing agreement with Sanmina-SCI to provide desktop manufacturing services for these markets.

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