Chipzilla, AOL enter into confusing PC deal

Making it easier for consumers by not giving away too much information

AOL Europe and Intel have got their heads together to devise a way of making buying a PC and gaining Internet access easier and more affordable Unfortunately, no one seems to know exactly how it will be done. In a vague statement received from Intel today, the chip maker said: "Through the agreement with Intel, AOL Europe will work with a variety of hardware manufacturers to provide a simple integrated package combining the purchase of a Pentium III processor-based PC with online access. "The offering will be tailored to meet the needs of different markets. Aimed at both first-time PC consumers as well as those adding multiple PCs in the home, the offer will conveniently combine the cost of the hardware and online access." Apparently, this new approach will be "implemented via a number of PC manufacturers on a country-by country basis over the winter, beginning with an alliance with Fujitsu Siemens to deliver a cashback rebate on PCs purchased by new CompuServe members in the UK". According to Andreas Schmidt, AOL Europe president and CEO: "Our agreement with Intel will make putting a computer in your home as commonplace and as straightforward as buying a new telephone or TV." Well that's all well and good, but until punters know how it is to be done, how much it will cost -- that kind of thing -- they're left completely in the dark. No one AOL Europe's UK office could shed any light on this and Intel's man-that-knows didn't return a call before press time. So your guess is as good as ours. ®

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