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MS to launch ‘free’ iPaq with Compaq

Punters sell their soul for three years to get rebates

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Compaq and Microsoft are to flog "free" Internet appliances.

The iPaq IA-2 is the second device to be launched in tandem from the industry heavyweights in the last few months. It is to be sold in Radio Shack shops in the US for $499, but punters are promised a $400 rebate from Microsoft, and another $100 from Compaq.

Unfortunately, there's no such thing as a free lunch - not even from Microsoft. Customers will have to sign up with the MSN service at $21.95 for three years to qualify for the rebate.

The Microsoft/Compaq hybrid machine has an all-in one
design with 15-inch colour monitor, built in speakers, keyboard, mouse and modem. No further spec or availability dates were available from Microsoft today.

This is the third MSN Companion device, two are with Compaq and one with eMachines - which offers a similar rebate service. ®

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