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Have It Your Way

Why settle for generic when you can have a computer customized to fit your needs?

This story appears in the September 1999 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

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When Gateway and Dell began manufacturing computers to customer design and selling by direct mail more than a decade ago, it was the only way you could specify all the nifty components you wanted and have your machine virtually built to order (BTO). The upside was you could create a powerful machine with all the bells and whistles to suit your requirements without having to accept components you didn't need. On the downside, you couldn't inspect your creation until it arrived at your doorstep. Fortunately, consumers trusted these two companies to supply quality products sight unseen, helping Dell ( and Gateway ( become the giant direct-computer businesses they are today.

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