Compaq Computer, Hewlett-Packard and Micron Electronics each joined the PC rebate throngs in the US yesterday, announcing that you can get $US400 back on a PC when you sign up for three years of Internet access.
The PC makers are the latest in a string of computer makers attempting to boost sales and offset weak profits by subsidising low-cost systems with Internet access contracts.
Copying similar promotions by smaller PC manufacturers, the moves make it clear that major PC makers see Internet access as a way to underwrite the cost of systems.
Micron and Internet access provider Earthlink will offer consumers who sign a three-year Internet contract a rebate of $400 on the purchase price of Pentium III powered Micron computer. Not priced as aggressively as its competitors, Micron's cheapest Millennia PC will go for $970 after rebate for a system powered by a PIII 450-MHz processor, with an 8.4GB hard drive, 64MB of memory, 40X CD-ROM, modem, and 17-inch monitor.
Hewlett-Packard has a more aggressively priced system, coming in at $350 after a $400 Internet service contract with CompuServe 2000 and a $100 "back-to-school" rebate. The Pavilion 4530 is powered by an AMD K6-2-350 processor, and comes loaded with a 4GB hard drive, 32MB of memory, a 32X CD-ROM drive, and a modem. Hewlett-Packard is offering its rebate with it entire Pavilion family of systems.
Compaq offers a limited time $400 rebate with the purchase of any Presario PC through its "iSAVE" Internet Savings Rebate Promotion. You must sign up for three-years of CompuServe 2000 Internet access at $21.95 a month. Compaq offers a further $200 in savings if you purchase a three-piece Presario Internet PC bundle (printer, monitor, and PC). The total cost for a Presario 5304 after rebates is $299.
The system is powered by a Cyrix-M2 366 processor, and includes 64MB of memory, a 4.3GB hard drive, and a modem. The CompuServe $400 rebate expires November 15 and Compaq's $200 three-piece system bundle expires October 15.