The ultra low cost PC movement took its second hit of the week on Thursday when US manufacturer Microworkz closed its doors.
The move follows the acquisition of Free PC earlier in the week by competitor eMachines, which specialises in cheap although not "free" PCs.
But the situation does not end there. Paula Selis, the attorney general of the state of Washington, has said she now intends to pursue pending lawsuits by scores of consumers complaining about Microworkz's failure to deliver equipment or issue refunds as an alternative.
Selis said she would use the courts to try and retrieve money from Rick Latman, the company's founder, in suits that allege he engaged in illegal and deceptive practices.
Microworkz caused a stir earlier this year when it launched the Webzter. One version of the offering sold for $299, including a year's worth of EarthLink Internet access, valued at $240, and the firm expanded rapidly as orders rolled in, moving from a small premises in Seattle to a 140,000 square foot compound with about 200 employees.
But the lawsuits allege that while orders and cheques poured in, machines did not go out as quickly.
The company later announced the iToaster, a product that it claimed was the first fully featured Internet computer bundled with unrestricted, no charge Internet access and a suite of office applications, including word processing and a spread sheet. But the offering never shipped.
After announcing the fact that the company had now closed, Latman admitted that shipping delays meant Microworkz had missed the boat with the iToaster and it had now been bypassed by other industry developments.
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