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eMachines Drops Rebate Program

Starting next month eMachines will eliminate all mail-in rebates from its desktop computer pricing structure and instead sell the PCs at what would have been the rebated price.

Anne Wilcox, eMachines marketing VP, said redeeming rebates can be a frustrating experience for customers and eMachines deemed it in its best interest to remove this hassle despite the increased cost to the company. Typically between 70 percent and 90 percent of the rebates were redeemed, a cost that will now be absorbed by the company.

Rebates will continue to be offered for the company’s monitors.

Gary Elsasser, technology and platform development VP, said the fact that eMachines is willing to take on this additional financial responsibility indicates it is in a strong fiscal position. The company expects to post sales and net profit gains for its third quarter, ending Oct. 31, and is forecasting the same for the fourth quarter.

On the product front, the company has started shipping its holiday season offerings, which includes for the first time a higher-end model aimed at the gamer market and is including six USB ports and Ethernet capability in all its models.

The T2200 Special Edition carries a $999 suggested retail price. At first it is only being offered through eMachines’ online store, but Wilcox said it could eventually make its way into retail. The Special Edition is based on the just introduced T2200, but adds an ATI Radeon 9700 graphics card, subwoofer, three 1394 ports and an AGP slot. The shared features are an AMD Athlon 2200 XP processor, 100GB hard drive, 512MB of DDR RAM and dual DVD-ROM/CD-RW drives.

The T2200 will carry a $749 suggested retail price.

The company’s entry-level model starts at its customary $399 suggested retail price point and features an Intel Celeron 1.7GHz processor, 128MB of DDR RAM, 40GB hard drive and a CD-ROM drive. The step-up model adds a Celeron 1.8GHz processor and dual CD-RW/DVD-ROM drives for an extra $100.

The final entry has a $649 suggested price tag. It is powered by an AMD Athlon 2000 XP processor and has an 80GB hard drive and a more powerful graphics card.

Due out in late 2002 or early 2003 will be a multi-format rewritable DVD drive similar to the one announced by Sony last month, Elsasser said. The Sony drive is capable of reading and writing to DVD-R/RW and DVD+R/+RW. The company held off making this immediately available due to the ongoing market conflict between the two formats and the recent problems the DVD-R/-RW drives have experienced.

Also arriving at the end of this year will be new 15-inch and 17-inch LCD monitors. Pricing has not been set for these products.

The company is continuing to look at the notebook computer market, said Elsasser — who previously worked in Toshiba’s notebook division — but does not expect to make any immediate announcements.