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Dell gunning for iMac with ‘Webster’ Web PC?

Cheap, maybe free, low-spec box due for November unveiling

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Having told the analysts how he was going to swipe everybody else's Taiwanese production yesterday, (See earlier story) Michael Dell also came up with some more information on the company's Web PC, codenamed Webster. He doesn't seem to have said much, but he said enough to make it sound like a pop at Apple combined with a serious bid for the free/subsidised PC market. Dell talked a little about Webster in August, hinting then that it would be a relatively low-spec (i.e. cheap/subsidised/free with an Internet connection contract). Now he reveals that it'll come in a variety of colours. So it'll be a groovy-looking colourful box, but presumably it won't look that much like an iMac. Dell says price and specifications won't be revealed until the end of November, from which we can presume a big launch at Comdex, and a rollout early next year. It may, given Dell's close relations with Microsoft, turn out to be a Millennium machine in that case. Millennium doesn't currently look like much of an improvement on Win98 in terms of simplification, but it'll certainly be pitched as such. Whether or not Dell goes with this as the OS for what's going to be presented as an easier to use PC will however likely depend on whether ship dates coincide. If Dell wants to get Webster out relatively soon, it would probably make more sense to stick with Win98 SE. It's not yet absolutely clear that Dell will go with a subsidised 'free' sales model for Webster, but that does seem to be the way Dell's headed. This week it introduced a $400 rebate on PC purchases for people signing up for a three year contracts with its Dellnet ISP service. ®

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