Death Knell for

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After just four months, Dell Computer has shut down

A lack of customers was cited as the primary reason for eliminating the Web site, which had been tailored toward small businesses.

"The BTB exchange market is in the early stages," said company spokesman Ken Bissell, who declined to disclose sales figures for the doomed Dell venture. "It's a paradigm shift for companies to buy and sell goods over e-marketplaces."

Another factor that could have contributed to the company's decision was the inability to attract a large stable of suppliers. Dell had only signed vendors Motorola, Pitney Bowes and 3M during the four months.

"It proved to be a distraction from Dell's main focus, which is selling Dell products," said Tim Clark, an analyst at Jupiter Research, New York.

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