Micron's new mConnect program provides one year of free, unlimited Internet access on select PCs through EarthLink, small business networking technology from 3Com, and customized consumer and small business "start pages" through Yahoo.
The program is intended to solidify Micron's position in the small and medium-size business market--a once ignored market segment that is now being heavily targeted by every major computer vendor as new customers in other areas become harder to find.
"We plan to deliver a wide variety of products and services that help these customers get online, build true e-commerce solutions, and manage key elements of service and support," said Joel Kocher, chairman and chief executive officer of Micron Electronics in a statement.
Most other major computer companies are pursuing similar strategies, though, and the result is that Micron has had a hard time maintaining its footing in the PC market of late.
Another direct PC vendor, Gateway, was one of the first to offer one year of free access. Dell and Compaq have also been striking deals to offer high-speed Net connections, angling to tap the ongoing revenue that goes to service providers.
All three also have either bought or set-up their own sites for reselling third-party hardware and software to capture additional revenue streams, and Compaq even owns its own search engine and portal company in AltaVista.
All this heat and light in the market has not been good for Micron's balance sheet. Micron's second fiscal quarter, which ended in February, showed revenues dropping seven percent from the first fiscal quarter of 1999.
In addition to the net access, networking, and customized start pages, the mConnect program includes:
Micron said one year of free Internet access requires the lease of any Millennia PC or purchase of select configurations of Millennia PCs with at least 128MB of memory and a 3-year extended warranty. The offer for net access follows a similar announcement with WorldNet, although that deal is limited to 50 free hours for the first month of access.
Reuters contributed to this report.