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3Com jilts Audrey

Refunds in Linen, Slate, Ocean, Meadow and Sunshine

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3Com is to give customers who bought its Audrey Internet appliances a full refund after deciding to ditch the product.

The $499 refund only applies to customers who bought one of the Audrey gadgets directly from 3Com, and not from one of its retailers.

"We would continue to believe in its [Audrey's] potential, but the market will take longer to develop than we'd planned," a 3Com representative said today.

The refund, available until June 1, has not been publicised by 3Com. The representative declined to say how many Audreys were sold, or what percentage were bought directly from 3Com.

3Com decided to offer the refund due to the short life span of the product, he added.

Audrey was launched last October, when top 3Com execs flew to New York to show off the Net gadget. At the time it was touted as a device that would "out Palm Palm", and came in a range of five pastel colours - linen, slate, ocean, meadow and sunshine.

It was hooked up the the Internet and offered different customised channels, such as weather and financial news. Unfortunately, its $499 price tag meant it cost the same as a cheap PC.

3Com's decision to pull the plug on Audrey was announced last month, the same time the networking vendor reported losses for the third quarter and launched a cost cutting plan aimed at netting it annual savings of $1 billion.

The company had previously said it would lay off 1,200 staff, or around ten per cent of its workforce.

Audrey owners can get their refund by calling: 1 877 949 3266. ®

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Audrey comes in Linen, Slate, Ocean, Meadow and Sunshine

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