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Amazon.com to sell PCs

Online retailer challenges computer companies

Amazon is to start selling PCs in the autumn via its US electronics store, a move which is yet to be mirrored in the UK.

With the launch two weeks ago of an electronics section on the UK site selling PDAs, digital cameras and printers, PCs seems to be the next logical step. But Amazon refused to say when, or even if, this would happen here.

"We launched the electronics store in response to customer demand and it is doing very well. However, there are no plans to sell PCs at the moment," said a spokesperson for Amazon.co.uk.

Amazon won't be making its own PCs, but with no store overheads it could undercut high street stores such as Dixons as well as providing stiff competition for beleaguered PC manufacturers.

But Gateway, for example, doesn't agree. "Competition is always a good thing," says the PC maker's head of marketing, Mike Maloney. "Anything Amazon does won't radically shake up the market," he added.

However, Maloney's claim that Amazon poses no threat is bluster; shrinking profit margins forced Gateway to lay off 10 percent of its workforce earlier this year, and it isn't alone.

Although it's a household name, Amazon is still struggling to make a profit and in January this year axed 13,000 jobs worldwide. But it has a high turnover and its electronics store is currently the fastest growing section of its US site.

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