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Microsoft offers free PCs with cheapo TalkTalk broadband - but there's a catch

Windows 7
Microsoft's deal is a decent one.

Microsoft has teamed up with Simplify Digital to offer a free computer when you buy broadband from TalkTalk for £1.75 per month.

The package is SimplyBroadband which carries a 12-month contract, provides up to 16mbps download speed and doesn't have any limits.

However, once you factor in the line rental for a year as well as equipment costs, the total cost of ownership for the first year shoots to £217.40 or just over £18.

As for the computer, it is a refurbished dual-core model with an 80GB hard disk drive, a new keyboard and mouse, Windows 7, a flat screen display and an optical drive. Add in £59 and you can upgrade to a refurbished laptop. In either case, you will also get a 12-month warranty.

No strings attached

Those receiving benefits will get Windows 7 Pro and Microsoft Home and Office Student 2010. The offer runs until 30th November and is limited to one machine per laptop.

The offer is part of Microsoft's Digital Inclusion Scheme (Go ON UK) via a dedicared website called getonline@home.

The ever*falling price of hardware and Microsoft's recent decision to give away Windows for free on some devices means that these deals are likely to become more frequent.

Free PCs with broadband and internet are nothing new; at the beginning of this century, companies like RedTen or Free-PC, tried to do the same thing but failed miserably.

This new, not-for-profit, scheme however is backed by Microsoft and aims at getting more users online rather than poaching customers from other providers.

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Desire Athow

Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Then followed a weekly tech column in a local business magazine in Mauritius, a late night tech radio programme called Clicplus and a freelancing gig at the now-defunct, Theinquirer, with the legendary Mike Magee as mentor. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global techfests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. He has an affinity for anything hardware and staunchly refuses to stop writing reviews of obscure products or cover niche B2B software-as-a-service providers.