Foreign Objects Allowed (2/13/00)
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Uh-oh, it's time for another exciting game of "He Said, She Said"! Yes, folks, fingers are pointing every which way, and accusations fly following FreeMac.com's transmogrification into NadaPC.com. If you've been tuning in, you know that FreeMac.com's Jonathan Strum claims that Apple absolutely refused to let him buy the one million iMacs he planned to give away-- even at full retail price. Trusting souls that we are (and odd, proprietary, brand-paranoid souls that Apple can be), we pretty much believed him; we could actually see Steve Jobs refusing to allow the iMac to be given away by "yet another free computer venture" because it might tarnish the iMac's image as a quality system. After all, have you seen the kind of computers those other companies give away? Even people who use Windows by choice shouldn't have to use it on dreck like that.

Except now, we're finally hearing the other side of the story, and Steve Jobs himself says that it didn't go down like that. According to MacNN, His Royal Steveness claims that, and we're quoting here, "FreeMac's story is bogus. They can buy Macs from any Apple reseller. No one ever tried to stop them." Uh-oh, two mutually exclusive sides to the same sob story. Sounds like someone's pants are on fire. Do those smoldering slacks belong to Strum, or to Jobs? FreeMac's switch from giving away a million quality iMacs to giving away a million unspecified "Internet appliances" has plenty of folks hopping mad, so either Strum or Jobs is going to take the blame; there should be some intelligent, rational way to determine which guy is the dirty little liar. May we humbly suggest a no-holds-barred cage match?

We admit, after hearing Jobs flatly deny Strum's allegations, we have to say that the whole FreeMac thing smelled a little funny from the start. And we're not the only ones who think this may be a case of bait-and-switch times a million. Faithful viewer John Amoratis says he smells slime; "all [FreeMac] wanted to do was get a kabillion e-mail addresses of people interested in a fashionable, easy-to-use Internet appliance." Well, that's certainly a possibility; maybe Strum never intended to give away iMacs in the first place. But again, right now we think there's too little information upon which to build a solid opinion one way or the other. Cage match. It's the only way to settle this. Apple could even webcast it using QuickTime 4.1's new pay-per-view architecture and turn the event into a bit of extra revenue for the quarter. Heck, we know we'd bust out the credit cards to see that.


 
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The above scene was taken from the 2/13/00 episode:

February 13, 2000: Steve bites back, claiming that FreeMac was not prevented from buying iMacs in any way. Meanwhile, Macworld Expo Tokyo is nearly upon us-- what goodies does Steve have in store? And by Microsoft's own count, Windows 2000 is buggier than an ant farm...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 2093: New Toys For Everyone (2/13/00)   It's funny, we've never been all that excited about a Tokyo Macworld Expo before. Then again, maybe it's not so surprising; Apple never announces shiny new products at an overseas event, so the keynote at the Tokyo Expo has traditionally been a rehash of the San Francisco keynote that took place a mere six weeks before...

  • 2094: Somebody Call Guinness (2/13/00)   Way back at the dawn of time, before AtAT was even the germ of an idea rattling around in some nut's head, the AtAT staff lived in a dorm that was riddled with cockroaches. Really, the bugs in that building could overwhelm the entire student population by sheer biomass alone if they had ever decided to attack en masse...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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