AS PERSONAL COMPUTERS BECOME MAINSTREAM CONSUmer appliances, computer makers are trying out consumer marketing tricks. Microsoft Corp. and Compaq Computer Corp, for example, have teamed up with Delta Air Lines Inc. to offer travelers a deal that could end up getting them a PC virtually for free.
Through Jan. 15, buy a Compaq Presario computer, which starts at about $900, or two Microsoft Home programs, which cost from $25 to $100 apiece, and you get a free companion ticket to any Delta destination in the world. Buy the hardware and software together, and you get two companion tickets plus a travel package with discounts on resorts and car rentals worth $500. One hitch: You have to buy a full-fare ticket costing $359 or more in order to get the free companion ticket. Delta, Compaq, and Microsoft are splitting the cost of the freebies, which Microsoft estimates will cost "millions."