eMachines Kills Free PC, Net Access Program

As part of its merger, eMachines Inc.
Wednesday officially terminated the FreePC Inc. computer program.

The low-priced computer maker announced it would end the free personal
computer program in November, when the two companies joined forces. But
clients this week received official notice as to when their free Internet
access would terminate.

In an e-mail to its clients, Free-PC said its new mission in life is to
focus on software development for eMachines.

“It was a difficult decision for us, but it’s important for us to focus our
resources on providing new desktop software applications for eMachines PCs,” the notice stated.

Free-PC informed its clients that titles for their free personal computers
would be transferred to them, at no charge. Free-PC also said it would
destroy all credit card information gathered during its brief reign and the
manufacturers, Compaq Computer Corp.
or Dell Computer
, would honor warranties.

Included in the e-mail were instructions for removing the Free-PC
advertising display and utility buttons.

Free-PC customers will also lose their free Internet access by Feb. 14. Free-PC customer support urged clients to take advantage of other free access offers from other providers.

At the time of the merger, Stephen Dukker, eMachines chief executive
officer, said combining its distribution ability with FreePC’s targeted
advertising deftness would make an incredible force in personal computer
sales and Internet services that could rival Compaq Computer Corp.(CPQ)
and Dell Computer (DELL).

Drucker had called the deal a killer combination. However, lawsuits filed
this fall against eMachines by Compaq and Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) alleging patent infringements may kill eMachines dreams of computer manufacturing market dominance.

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