PeoplePC was founded by Nick Grouf, Max Metral and David Waxman, and launched in the United States in October 1999. It bundled personal computers with internet service and access to discounted products and services. Initially funded by SoftBank, the company's mission was to "democratize technology." Its business model included collective buying, which allowed the company to generate additional revenue from advertising, partnerships, and premium products.
In February 2000 the company announced that they would provide PCs and Internet access to all of the employees of Ford Motor Co. and Delta Air Lines, and in October it was announced that it would open European subsidiaries to enable overseas corporations and governments to offer their employees low-cost home computers and Internet access and later developed partnerships with Vivendi Universal, The New York Times, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and the National Trades Union of Singapore. PeoplePC donated internet access to low-income families through President Clinton's ClickStart initiative, and provided both computers and computer training to economically disadvantaged students through its PeopleGive program.
PeoplePC debuted on NASDAQ in August 2000 under the ticker PEOP at $10 a share and its stock declined quickly. In 2002 the company was acquired by Earthlink. In 2006, J.D. Power and Associates ranked PeoplePC Online as the first value-priced dial-up provider to receive the highest ratings from customers in four factors: cost of service, billing, e-mail services, and offerings.
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- Einstein, David (February 10, 2000). "Parlaying 'free' computers into big deals". Forbes. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- Kirby, Carrie (February 5, 2000). "Power to the PeoplePC / S.F. startup is organizing Delta, Ford and ClickStart programs". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- Flynn, Laurie J. (October 23, 2000). "TECHNOLOGY; PeoplePC Finds Niche in Corporate Sales". New York Times. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- Lidsky, David (April 1, 2006). "The Cable Guys". Fast Company. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
- PeoplePC’s Service Ranked Highest in Customer Satisfaction By J.D. Power and Associates., Internet Service Provider Residential Customer Satisfaction Survey, 2006
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