Dell has always sold directly to consumers via their web site and phone operations; it's a basic element of their business. Chairman and chief executive Michael Dell is now conceding that the company may need to rethink basic practices by considering alternative methods of selling their products. While initially no specifics are given, the thought seems to be than eventually the company will begin working with a retail chain. "Dell's direct model came under pressure as the market for PCs shifted to notebooks from desktops last year. It is harder to custom configure notebook computers, so they had to be manufactured in advance, which lost Dell some of its cost advantage. In addition, consumers were showing a preference for touching and feeling a notebook PC before buying it."