The parent company of Packard Bell, NEC, is pulling the beleaguered PC maker out of the U.S. PC market and laying off 80% of its workforce in an attempt to stem the billions of dollars of losses the company has sustained over the past few years. Packard Bell, once a cornerstone of the retail PC industry in the United States, has fallen on hard times in recent years as higher-quality PCs have come down in price. Long criticized for the cheap nature of its U.S. products, the company lost over $1 billion in both 1997 and 1998.

"The Packard Bell brand will disappear in the U.S.," said a Packard Bell spokesperson.

Looking forward, company executives hope to sell consumer PCs on the Internet. And Packard Bell intends to continue selling its computers in Europe