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Free iMac company blames Apple for failure to ship

But Freemac shouldn't have promised the kit, if it didn't have any to offer

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Freemac this week put the blame squarely on Apple for its inability to deliver on a promise to supply one million folks with a gratis iMac each. According to Freemac's president, Jonathan Strum, when interviewed by CNet, the company's plan to give away one million iMacs over a two-year period came to nothing when Apple refused to supply it with the machines, either directly or through the channel. "What we're telling our customers -- well over a million people who signed up -- is that Apple won't let you have a free computer," said Strum. Is it just us, or does this strike others as more than a tad suspicious? The simple fact is, Strum and Co. should have been certain that they could supply that number of computers before they launched Freemac with so much hooplah. Apple's decision not to supply Freemac is open to question -- though there's probably some very clear business logic behind it; after all, why would anyone turn down a million-unit sale; even if you're not a fan of the free PC movement, that's still a lot of revenue to turn down -- but that doesn't change the fact that Freemac should not have made promises it was unsure that it could keep, and no amount of bleating by Strum will change that. To be fair, Strum does claim to have received a verbal agreement from an Apple sales rep. that the vendor would supply Freemac with equipment. However, he should still have got the deal down in black and white before promising machines to punters. So where does all this leave Strum? Starting over again, apparently, this time with a business called NadaPC and a database of over a million potential customers to leverage, either directly or by selling the list to e-commerce companies and PC vendors. This time the idea is to offer free internet appliances from Intel, Acer or Merinta, though as yet which of the three will get the sale has yet to be decided. To receive a free machine, users will have to agree to buy their Net access from EarthLink (now closely allied with Apple, of course), put up with extra ad banners in their browser and buy goods online. And hopefully NadaPC can guarantee it will be able to buy the kit and will ship it to the million people still waiting for their iMacs. ®

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