IBM, the company which invented the modern-day PC, has further distanced itself from what it sees as the unprofitable business of making and selling desktops.

For the last four years, manufacture of all IBM desktops sold in Europe has been contracted to Scottish PC maker Fullarton Computer Industries, a £600m a year firm which operates over 130 computer factories worldwide.

Now IBM has handed over management of desktop manufacture to a Californian company called Sanmina SCI.

In Europe, the move adds yet another layer between IBM and the PCs which carry its name, although Netvistas will still be designed by IBM.

"We're not getting out of the desktop business, just the manufacture, which is of less value to IBM," said an IBM spokesman.

Fullarton will still be making IBM Netvista PCs in Greenock and Irvine, but the 82 IBM people who managed the Fullarton's contract will become Sanmina employees, responsible for production schedules, line loading and determining production volumes.

Sanmina will manufacture Netvistas in California for the US domestic market and Canada. Previously IBM has operated its own US factories.

Earlier this month, in the name of efficiency, IBM phased out telesales of desktops in Europe, pushing customers to buy through its website or resellers.