From the December 2001 issue of Entrepreneur


Attention, Bargain PC Shoppers!

If you're in Houston, you're in luck-that's where the Compaq Factory Outlet retail store is. Entrepreneurs elsewhere can still access the bargains online or by phone.


$3.2 Billion:
the amount securities firms will need to spend to replace technology destroyed in the World Trade Center attacks.
SOURCE: TowerGroup

Compaq is just one of many computer manufacturers using outlet stores to shed excess inventory and refurbished hardware. Gateway and Dell deals can be found by following Gateway's "remanufactured systems" link or Dell's "refurbished systems" link from the small-business areas of their sites. With the same tight economy that's been driving PC prices down putting the squeeze on business budgets, savvy entrepreneurs shop virtual outlets to stock their offices.

Bargains do come at a price. A refurbished Compaq PC from the outlet comes with a limited 90-day warranty, much shorter than buying new. Remanufactured Gateways offer a limited one-year warranty, but the money-back guarantee is just five days rather than the standard 30. Read the fine print upfront to avoid surprises later on.

For most entrepreneurs, the price breaks are worth the drawbacks. You don't have to wait for the economy to boom again to add to your PC hardware.

Sting Like a Phone!

Code name: Stinger. It sounds painful, but Microsoft's new operating system for PDA/mobile phone hybrid smart phones is a sign of the times. Reflecting its less-PC-centric view of the technology universe, Microsoft is closely following the trend toward higher handheld and cell phone usage and the alluring promise of 3G (third-generation) wireless services.

Wireless Web access, contact management and e-mail are features of the Stinger software. What sets it apart from the current crop of Palm/cell hybrids is that it will come factory-ready to view both WAP and HTML Web sites, access POP3 e-mail and remotely synchronize data with other hardware devices through Microsoft Exchange servers. It's coming soon: Expect Stinger to actually start stinging in the first half of 2002.