Starting now, businesses will be able to trade any computer and get a trade-in credit for the market value of a PC. Consumers will be able to trade a Pentium-class or better machine, with older computers eligible for trade-in after Sept. 30.
The move follows Gateway's announcement earlier this week that it will offer free clinics and limited technical support to owners of PCs from rival manufacturers.
Gateway says it is working with a computer reseller that will reformat the hard drives, reinstall Windows, and then sell the machines in foreign countries in which Gateway does not sell computers.
The trade-in credit will be the value, as determined by Orion Blue Book, with a minimum of $25 for any computer or monitor.
"We think it's going to drive business and get new people into the stores," said Gateway spokesman Brad Williams. Gateway has offered trade-ins on its own PCs since 1998.
Williams said many computers bought three and four years ago aren't up to today's computing tasks.
"We're not speed freaks," Williams said. "At the same time, if you have a computer from 1996 or 1997 and are trying to do digital photography (and other tasks), you're going to have a more frustrating experience."