RealTime IT News

Amazon Decides to Play Hard Drive

Moving to bolster the bottom line in a hard drive kind of way, Amazon.com launched a new computer store on its site and said that Ingram Micro Inc. will provide enhanced logistics and product fulfillment.

Seattle-based Amazon , which has seen its stock drop below $10 recently, said the store also will offer refurbished computers. The market reaction was less than sanguine; Amazon stock was down 17 cents in early trading, to $9.80.

Santa Ana, Calif.-based Ingram Micro already is a distributor for the Amazon Electronics store. Financial arrangements between the companies were not disclosed. Ingram said that using its IM-Logistics division, it will support the Amazon Computer store with fulfillment services, including customized boxes, packing slips and marketing materials, that will be transparent to the customer.

The new store will carry desktops and notebooks from brands such as Apple, Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Toshiba. Refurbished computers will be sold by established third-party sellers like Essex Technology Group, Overstock.com and TechSmart, Inc.

Amazon said the store also carry components and peripherals and will feature both online and phone help, a buying advisor tool that offers recommendations based on cost and proposed use of a computer, search and comparison of multiple computer models side by side on a single screen, an accessory finder and links to rebate information.

"Ingram Micro shares our customer obsession, and they have deep expertise in the highly complex skill of distributing computers and related products," said Carl Gish, vice president of electronics at Amazon.com.

Ingram Micro, which just last week said it reached an agreement with Sphinx CST in the UK to acquire its Cisco Sales Division, operates in 36 countries with sales of $30.7 billion for fiscal 2000.