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Freeing up the PC

America Online and Microsoft are the latest entrants into the free PC craze, which is driving down hardware prices but creating another means by which online services can compete for users.


  latest developments 

America Online and Microsoft are the latest entrants into the free PC craze, reflecting the growing trend of personal computer makers teaming with Internet providers to offer bundled services at low prices. Though PC makers are sacrificing the cost of PC hardware, they're making money back on Internet charges and other services.


AOL offers rebate on IBM PCs
America Online is offering people who sign up for three years with its CompuServe division a $400 rebate to buy an IBM personal computer.

Microworkz, Freeserve in talks to market cheap PC
The maker of low-cost computers says it is in advanced talks to distribute its new $199 machine through Freeserve, Britain's largest Internet service provider.

previous coverage
Microsoft enters free PC throng
The company says it will offer a free computer to customers who sign up for three years of its Internet service, the latest move in a game of one-upmanship driving down the price of hardware.

Some WebTV set-tops slashed to $50
As pressure mounts from the "free PC" craze and other market forces, some sellers of the WebTV set-top boxes are slashing prices to as low as $50.