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Free emailer plugs Apple

An enterprising Hawaii company comes up with its own free email service that it proudly promotes as "100 percent pure Macintosh."

In the wake of Microsoft's buyout of Hotmail, an enterprising Hawaii company has come up with its own free email service that it proudly promotes as "100 percent pure Macintosh."

Dubbed MauiMail, it lets users send email for free, provided they are willing to live with banner ads on the top of most Web pages of the service. Users do not receive any messages from MauiMail or any advertisers, the company promises. To sign up, users also have to answer personal questions such as "Have you ever been to Maui?"

MauiMail has more than 1,000 subscribers, but that number is more than doubling every day, according to Daryl Hansen, who started the business earlier this month.

Although it is a small outfit, the service is another example of the surge in Web-based email, which is being offered by giants such as Hotmail (now part of Microsoft), Yahoo, Excite, Juno, and Eudora Web-Mail, among many others.

"We love to play with Apple Macintosh computers," the site says. "You see, for us, the Macintosh is a toy, which just happens to be an amazing tool. Our servers are Macintosh and all of the content contained here is created on the Macintosh. We are only lucky that they happen to be easier to set up and less expensive to maintain than other Web servers."

The site also features the "Apple Technology at Work" logo on its site and links to Apple Web sites, along with links to a list of Maui activities, such as snorkeling, parasailing, and sport fishing. And take heed, Microsoft CEO Bill Gates: The company's business philosophy is decidedly low-key: "Do what you love and everything around you will fall into place."