cmj writes "Internet.com reports 'Looking to attract households that still aren't online, AOL is offering new customers a $299 PC system if they sign a one-year $23.90 dial-up Internet service contract.' A click through AOL's ecommerce site reveals the the specs as 1.7 GHz Celeron with 256 MB RAM, 40 GB hard drive, 56K modem, 10/100ethernet card, 17" monitor and Lexmark printer. The PC is running Windows XP, and includes 'AOL Office Powered by Sun'. Also of note is the fact that the $299 appears to be financed at around 22%. The math ( (12*23.90)+299 ) seems to suggest that you can get a $699 computer for $585.80 plus any finance charges. Setting aside the question of whether this is a good deal or not, one has to wonder whether AOL is desperate for new customers and resorting to bribery, or just progressing to the next step of branding. With this action AOL controls everything from the OS to the Word Processor to the web sites their customers browse."
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