Microsoft joins US 'free PC' fray

Microsoft joins US 'free PC' fray

Signalling the end of the traditional PC market, Microsoft has plunged into the "free PC" fray with an announcement that US customers who pay up-front for three years of MSN (Microsoft Network) Internet Access will get a 400MHz PC from computer manufacturer Lan Plus at no cost.

At $US17.99 a month, the total comes to $647.64 for unlimited access for 36 months.

Customers can order a 15 inch monitor for an additional $139.99 or a 17 inch monitor and a 1200 dpi (dots per inch) colour inkjet printer from Lexmark International for an additional $249.99.

"There are no boundaries in the PC market anymore," said Rupinda Toor, market analyst with IDC. Microsoft Australia told ARN its ninemsn partnership will not offer the deal as it is not an ISP.

However, Toor claims there is no reason why it could not be attempted.

"There are already 13 different Internet PC bundles which IDC has dubbed Chameleon PCs in Australia. Microsoft would not be Robinson Crusoe," Toor said.

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