Dutch Gateway store was kept udder wraps for centuries until refit dug up computing history

Cow about that?

A bit of computing history has been inadvertently unearthed in the Netherlands after a refit of a shop revealed signage for long-forgotten computer brand Gateway.

The (in retrospect hideous, but also iconic) Holstein cow-print design was spotted by Reg reader Tom Hill while on holiday in the Hague.

"We walked past this old shop during refurbishment and could see the builders were busy working. (Portaloo strategically placed near the doorway)," he told The Register.

Ruins of ancient Gateway shop unearthed in the Hague

Ruins of ancient Gateway shop unearthed in the Hague

"Me and [my] partner reminisced about the days we were 'allowed to use the internet'. Back in the days when we were 12 years old and had to put up with 56k dial-up connection to a white box."

Gateway (briefly known as Gateway 2000) played a small role in the personal computing revolution. It also has perhaps the most unlikely origin story of any tech company of the era – except perhaps for Apple.

It started life on a sleepy South Dakota farm, not far from the border with Iowa, but miles away from the tech hotspots of Texas (home of Dell) and California. Gateway machines were assembled in America after most manufacturers had started shipping jobs offshore. At the same time, its marketing was surprisingly charming for a company that largely shipped uninspiring beige boxes.

Unlike other vendors that hitched their wagon to retail, Gateway focused for a time on selling high-spec custom machines via phone and mail order. It subsequently switched towards cheaper mass-produced devices, such as the $799 all-in-one Astro.

It wasn't plain sailing. While Apple and Dell swallowed up market share outside the US, Gateway's business model made it difficult to scale overseas. The firm also made some questionable acquisitions, including Amiga in 1997. Meanwhile, its US-based assembly lines kept production costs high, leaving it at a disadvantage compared to other vendors who shifted jobs overseas.

In 2004, Gateway acquired eMachines and the latter's CEO, Wayne Inouye, took the reins. Inouye began a process of aggressive outsourcing that saw the firm's payroll shrink, but at a cost to its corn-fed Midwestern public image and general goodwill.

Acer absorbed Gateway just a few years later. Now all that remains of the once-popular computer vendor are a few loft-bound dusty towers. And the remnants of its brand clinging to signage of a shop in the Netherlands.

If you're tempted to pay it a visit, you can find it on a street called Spui, next to the junction of Kalvermarkt. We understand if you can't be bothered. ®

Similar topics

Narrower topics

Other stories you might like

  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading
  • Big Tech loves talking up privacy – while trying to kill privacy legislation
    Study claims Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, Microsoft work to derail data rules

    Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Microsoft often support privacy in public statements, but behind the scenes they've been working through some common organizations to weaken or kill privacy legislation in US states.

    That's according to a report this week from news non-profit The Markup, which said the corporations hire lobbyists from the same few groups and law firms to defang or drown state privacy bills.

    The report examined 31 states when state legislatures were considering privacy legislation and identified 445 lobbyists and lobbying firms working on behalf of Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Microsoft, along with industry groups like TechNet and the State Privacy and Security Coalition.

    Continue reading
  • SEC probes Musk for not properly disclosing Twitter stake
    Meanwhile, social network's board rejects resignation of one its directors

    America's financial watchdog is investigating whether Elon Musk adequately disclosed his purchase of Twitter shares last month, just as his bid to take over the social media company hangs in the balance. 

    A letter [PDF] from the SEC addressed to the tech billionaire said he "[did] not appear" to have filed the proper form detailing his 9.2 percent stake in Twitter "required 10 days from the date of acquisition," and asked him to provide more information. Musk's shares made him one of Twitter's largest shareholders. The letter is dated April 4, and was shared this week by the regulator.

    Musk quickly moved to try and buy the whole company outright in a deal initially worth over $44 billion. Musk sold a chunk of his shares in Tesla worth $8.4 billion and bagged another $7.14 billion from investors to help finance the $21 billion he promised to put forward for the deal. The remaining $25.5 billion bill was secured via debt financing by Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Barclays, and others. But the takeover is not going smoothly.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022