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NetPliance hobbles i-Opener $99 PC hack

Spoilsports slams door well and truly shut

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NetPliance has disabled its $99 i-Opener appliance, to prevent new models being pumped up into a fully-functioning PC. The Texan-based company aims to sell Net access subscriptions for $21.95 per month, on the back of the i-Opener's (tagline - All the fun of the Internet without the computer) pared-down email and Internet functionality. But hackers have been buying i-Opener units, often in multiples from Circuit City, Netpliance's sole retailer, without any intention of using Netpliance's net service. Details of how to convert the device into a PC spread through the Linux and FreeBSD communities last week - and reached the wider world through the New York Times. NetPliance also sells i-Opener direct. On its Web site, it says the $99 price tag for i-Opener is an introductory offer -- or rather it says the regular price is $199. Here is Netpliance's press statement, issued today, in full. In response to recent reports of the unauthorized reconfiguration of its i-opener Internet appliance, Netpliance, Inc. (NPLI) announced that it has implemented hardware changes to prevent reconfigurations of i-opener Internet appliances produced after March 20, 2000. The changes implemented by the Company will be immaterial to the production cost of the i-opener Internet appliance. The Company believes the reported unauthorized reconfiguration of the i-opener Internet appliance has not had a material impact on its operating results or general product availability. See also Circuit City shuts doors on i-Opener $99 PC hack http://www.linux-hacker.net/iopener For details of how the hack was done.

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