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Hitachi unveils ‘free PC’ scheme

100,000 Win98 boxes MUST GO!!!

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Hitachi is to give away 100,000 PCs in Japan to boost the country's e-commerce industry - and, naturally, its own profits. The Hitachi deal will operate through third-parties - e-commerce companies will be able to hand over PCs to punters, paying the manufacturer from their own hopefully increased sales. Hitachi's partners will operate membership schemes, so presumably the vendor is after all that juicy demographic and buying pattern data, too. All that's missing is a tie-in with an ISP. It's not yet clear how the partners themselves will manage the provision of the PCs - will members have to agree to buy a certain quantity of goods, for instance - but presumably details will be announced when Hitachi's partners are themselves revealed. That should be soon. Hitachi said it wants to offload the 100,000 Windows 98 machines by June. Good luck, we say. We're sure Hitachi believes the economics will work, but we can't help wondering what happened to the great swath of free PC deals that was supposed to appear throughout the West during 1999 but... er... didn't. ® Related Stories Sega US preps free Dreamcast lure for its ISP Japanese firm offers 50,000 free Dreamcasts

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