September 1, 2006 12:54 PM PDT

Office Depot to offer $99 PC with $99 shipping

The bargain season for back-to-school shopping begins next week, but read the fine print.

Office Depot will sell a Hewlett-Packard desktop PC complete with a CRT monitor and printer for $99. The bundle, which typically sells for $429, involves a $100 in-store instant rebate and four mail-in coupons.

The offer is good from Sept. 3 through 9.

Still, you have to have the machine shipped, and shipping comes to $99.

On the flip side, consumers don't need to sign up for new Internet service as part of the deal. Other companies and stores have offered $99 computers before, but these deals often required consumers to buy a year's worth of AOL dial-up service or open an account with some other Internet service provider.

Do customers come out for these deals? Yes. In December 2005, CompUSA offered a $149 Toshiba laptop and a $99 Compaq desktop after discounts. The retailer sold 7,500 of the notebooks in two hours, or 2.5 notebooks a minute. (To get these deals, consumers had to subscribe to AOL for a year.)

September is one of the key months for PC manufacturers and retailers. The third quarter is typically the second-biggest sales season of the year because of back-to-school buying, and a significant portion of the PCs bought in the third quarter are sold during its last two weeks. As a result, companies begin to pour on the offers as the month rolls on. As a side note, some pinpoint the end of the dot-com era to September 2000, when PC and semiconductor makers surprised analysts with dire warnings about sales.

The Office Depot computer comes with a Celeron D 352 chip, an 80GB hard drive and 256MB of memory.

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Office Depot Inc., back-to-school, Internet service, America Online Inc., retailer

28 comments

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So long Negroponte
HP just kicked Negroponte's posterior... imagine... a commercial company offering better price/performance than a non-profit. heh, heh... Any chance HP will move in on N's market??
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hold up a sec...
Hold off on that kick...

Going to the Office Depot site states:

$99.99*
After 100.00 Instant Savings and (4) Mail-In Savings
( In Store Price $429.99)

You still have to shell out the $430 and pray your rebates don't get "lost" in the sea of rejected processing...
Posted by AMPerez (33 comments )
Link Flag
Not even close
The sub-$100 computer that Negroponte is delivering is:

1. Portable
2. Has built in mesh networking
3. Uses bare minimum power

The idea is to use it wehere there isn't reliable power or communications -- which the HP PC would survive powering up.

Two totally different animals. You need to look past the $$.
Posted by chill633 (15 comments )
Link Flag
Does your corporate butt kissing never end?
This is a total rip-off. The cheap laptop project is designed to help people and countries, something you oddly find wrong.
Posted by qwerty75 (1164 comments )
Link Flag
Do not buy it
I bought two items from office depot a while ago with mail in rebates and it was not a good experience. If for "some" reason, they cannot process your rebate, you will wasting a lot of time trying to get it. I gave up on my last one when they gave the same excuse that I did not mail in a copy of the product's UPC. Unless you have a lot of time and patience, go for it but the article says that there are four rebates so there's more than enough chance that your rebate process will not go smoothly.
Posted by vizfx (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Do it right and don't give up
I can tell you as a manager at an Office Depot two things.

1. I have never let a customer be refused a rebate they were due.
2. You no longer have to send in UPC's to Office Depot.

We stopped making customers send in UPC's because a high percentage (70+%) were sending in the wrong barcodes. THAT is why rebates get denied, not because it's a scam. HP still requires barcodes, but there's nothing ANY retailer can do about that.

Also, customers who don't wait 6 months or more, and can prove they actually bought the product (see: has a receipt) I take care of. If your rebate got refused I'll have it overriden, but you have to have SOMETHING to prove we owe you money.
Posted by qzgwnxl (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
It is still a scam
Unless you are saving that much at the counter, posting the post-rebate price is completely unethical.

Rebates are for suckers. You can do far better online, then outmoded shops like Office Depot.
Posted by qwerty75 (1164 comments )
Link Flag
Obsolete On Arrival
This machine is bare minnimum for everyday use already and really needs the 256MB memory upgrade right now. In just six months you'll be looking at the cost of a possible Windows Vista upgrade, which would also require a new video card if this system is even upgradeable and another 512MB memory upgrade. This $100 PC could easily wind up costing you $300-$500 more in upgrades within a year. Most people are better off waiting six months to take advantage of special offers during and after the Windows Vista release.
Posted by annanemas (79 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not Necessarily
Yes, you probably want to add another 256 meg of ram, so let's say this computer now costs you $250 (with shipping, excl tax). It is a perfectly good computer for the kids or grandma. They will happily use XP for the next 18 months or so, it will take that long for MS to work out the kinks in Vista anyway. Or you can do as I plan to and load Linux on it as a test/dev computer. My printer just broke, so not only do I get a useable Linux computer for $198, I get a printer/scanner to boot. All-in-all not a bad deal. My only concerns are how many orders Office Depot will take before they say, "Sorry, no more", and how long shipping takes.
Posted by maxwis (141 comments )
Link Flag
Don't buy now for Vista...
Those consumers who will benefit from this system are not going to need Vista the day it hits store shelves or ever for that matter. $200 for a working PC with Windows XP is a good deal. Sure it could benefit greatly from double the RAM but if it meets their needs out of the box why would you want them to upgrade for Vista spending more money needlessly? That does not make any sense.
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
Link Flag
Get a better deal at Wal-Mart
I bought both of my kids a new laptop each for their schoolwork, at Wal-Mart. For less than $1300 total for both, they got everything they needed and more, including wireless and Dual Layer DVD+/-R/RW drive. If NEXT year they need better laptops, we can do that too. You get what you pay for, you know. Plan accordingly.
Posted by Des Alba (68 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Get a better deal elsewhere
You can get the same or lower price from Dell direct. But you're right that you get what you pay for. Get a higher quality laptop from Apple and you don't have to worry about it breaking every time it's dropped.
Posted by omaryak (59 comments )
Link Flag
and you are the luckiet person in the world
Please contact me with this weeks lottery numbers, because you are either the luckiet person in the world, or a flat out liar. I read a recent study that said over 70% have had rebate problems. Its such a big problem places like Staples and Office Depot will start to slowly get ride of rebates.

I, like lot of other people, have been ripped off so many times on this "rebate scam".
Posted by aSiriusTHoTH (176 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Refunds blow.
As far as rebates go - I may have put in let's say - 30 rebates in my lifetime and have only gotten 3 (three) of them processed.

Before anyone starts asking me "did you send in everything they wanted", questions - Yes. I even photocopied everything, just to have a record of them and zip- still nothing.

I've mailed the copy and was STILL asked - well if you sent this in, then you're okay. But okay or not, there was no refund in my mailbox.

If big box stores (or any other store for that matter) really wanted to move their items, they should just do the rebate at the register.

That would make me go back to that store time and time again. This through-the-mail processing is the pits.
Posted by AMPerez (33 comments )
Link Flag
and you are the luckiet person in the world
Please contact me with this weeks lottery numbers, because you are either the luckiet person in the world, or a flat out liar. I read a recent study that said over 70% have had rebate problems. Its such a big problem places like Staples and Office Depot will start to slowly get ride of rebates.

I, like lot of other people, have been ripped off so many times on this "rebate scam".
Posted by aSiriusTHoTH (176 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Great way to clear old crap...
With Core Duo coming out, and Pentium-M becoming the defacto low-end, it's a nice way of clearing out the Celeron crap.

OTOH, why didn't they just donate the things en-masse? the PR and tax write-off would be worth more than they'd get by selling 'em at a (probable) loss?

/P
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I'm offering a $1 PC
Yes sir! That's right only $1 for an Intel Core 2 Duo PC with 200 GB Hard Drive, 128 GB Video Card, 512 MB of RAM. Not a cheap PC, but a real Vista ready machine.

Mechanics are simple to get your $1 PC:

Buy the PC for $500, pay the $200 packing charge, the $200 service charge, and pay the $100 shipping charge (whether or not you pick it up from the store), and we'll give you rebates worth $499 and a zero coupon treasury bill worth $500 in 2099.
Posted by Maccess (610 comments )
Reply Link Flag
rebates galore!
Well if your gonna charge such a high price in the first place then how do you expect to sell? You may wanna try this one for instant rebates <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.white.in/result.php?Keywords=Instant+Rebates" target="_newWindow">http://www.white.in/result.php?Keywords=Instant+Rebates</a>
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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