Apple, Thai Government Agree on Cheaper Mac Poject

Apple Computer has agreed with the Government of Thailand to sell Macs below market price in an initiative to get more personal computers in the hands of the nationis people, the English language newspaper The Nation reported Wednesday.

The offer will reportedly begin later this month for an undetermined period as part of a government initiative to spread technology to as many people as possible.

It is not known specifically which Macintosh model will be discounted. One source told the newspaper it would "probably" be the G4 eMac, which sells for 40,000 Baht, the equivalent of $966 American - $166 more than the base eMac model sells for in the United States. It is possible Apple is planning on selling only the top-line model with a SuperDrive, which retails for $999 and is more in line with the price Thai sources are reporting.

The first group of buyers would get free printers while supplies lasted, the paper reported. Apple would also provide training to new users.

The Apple offer comes as PC buyers in Thailand and throughout the emerging markets of Asia are able to buy a wide variety of Windows-based PCs at prices equivalent to $300, making it difficult for Apple to grow its marketshare.