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Investments up but conflict lingers for free PC firms

The movement that has swept across the PC landscape is getting more backing and more stable business plans. But the problems that hit Enchilada and other start-ups are not yet a thing of the past.

 

  latest developments 

The movement that has swept across the PC landscape is getting more backing and more stable business plans. But the problems that hit Enchilada and other start-ups are not yet a thing of the past.

"Part of what the Internet has done is make people believe that they can become overnight millionaires."

- Ganesh Ramakrishnan, Gobi's chief executive

 


Free PC company Gobi eyeing new services
Although many of the See special report: PC free-for-all "free PC" start-ups have stumbled recently, one of them says that it's looking into expanding the type and kind of services it offers in 2000.

Dell eyes services, devices
Although its PC business is still growing strong, Dell Computer is expanding deeper into consulting and Internet access and may even move into areas such as Web hosting and selling devices, chief executive Michael Dell says.

IBM, Avenir take "free PCs" to Europe
In its first move into the "free PC" business, IBM says France's Avenir Telecom will offer Internet services and an IBM personal computer for a monthly fee.

State hits Microworkz with lawsuit
Responding to see related story: Microsoft bets on RadioShack customer complaints, the Washington state attorney general files suit against Microworkz, one of the start-ups that launched the "free PC" movement.

Softbank invests in low-cost PC firm
PeoplePC, a start-up offering consumers a computer and unlimited Internet access for $24.95 a month, will announce that it has secured $65 million in funding.

Micron takes stake in subscription strategy
The direct seller of personal computers plans to announce that it will invest more than $210 million in building up a "subscription computing" business.