RealTime IT News

3Com Saves Face, Offers Full Audrey Refund

3Com confirmed Wednesday that it would buy back its Audrey television-styled Web connectivity appliances.

A spokesperson for the company confirmed 3Com's decision to buy back any Audrey browser purchased from its Web site for $499 a pop, the asking price for the unit. Users can take advantage of the offer through June 1, 2001.

The unusual step was hailed as a gesture of goodwill by the company and a reaction to a slow-buying PC environment.

"Audrey was on the market for a few months. We continue to believe in its potential, but we stopped [selling] it because the market will take a lot longer to develop," said 3Com spokesman Bob Ingols.

The refund does not extend to users who purchased Audrey from retailers, including Best Buy and CompUSA. Ingols declined to say how many of the Audrey units were sold.

Audrey was created to offer users a familiar way to access the Web -- the unit came equipped with an old-fashioned turn knob used to surf the Web's various channels. Ingols said the company has not ruled out returning to providing network connectivity appliances at a later date.

3Com is in the midst of exploring options to par down its expenses by $1 billion in cost saving measures that include scaling back its staff later this month.