OT: Ford Gives Employees Home Computers w/ Internet

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Wow! What a Deal!

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Ford offers free computers to staff

Auto giant to give Hewlett-Packard PCs to entire workforce

REUTERSDETROIT, Feb. 3  Ford Motor Co. on Thursday offered free Hewlett-Packard Co. computers and printers and cut-rate Internet access to its 350,000 employees worldwide.

U.S. EMPLOYEES WHO accept the offer, which is worth millions to Hewlett-Packard, will begin receiving the computers in the second quarter, and the plan will be rolled out globally within 12 months, Ford said.

This program keeps Ford Motor Co. and our worldwide team at the leading edge of e-business technology and skills, Ford Chief Executive and President Jac Nasser said in a statement.

Fords U.S. employees will pay $5 a month for Internet access through UUNET, a unit of MCI WorldCom Inc.

Nasser currently communicates with Fords white-collar employees via a weekly e-mail newsletter. Putting computers in the homes of all Ford employees would allow him to access the automakers entire work force via the Internet.

This program is a tribute to the collective bargaining process and to our solid relationship with Ford Motor Co., said Stephen Yokich, president of the United Auto Workers union, which represents thousands of hourly workers at Ford.

Yokich told reporters on Monday that the union was talking with Ford and DaimlerChrysler AG about putting computers in the homes of the companies U.S. hourly workers.

Officials at DaimlerChrysler, which has about 75,000 U.S. UAW employees, told Reuters on Monday that their company had not been contacted about the idea.

UAW officials on Monday did not say whether they had discussed the computer idea with General Motors Corp. The union represents about 172,000 hourly workers at GM, the worlds largest automaker.

The Ford computer program will be coordinated by PeoplePC Inc. of San Francisco. The Hewlett-Packard computers will have a 500-Mhz Celeron chip, 64 MB of RAM, a 4.3 GB hard disk, a CD-ROM, a 15-inch monitor, speakers and a modem. Employees can upgrade to three more powerful computers at their own expense.


Feb 3, 2000 - 12:04 PM

Eligible Ford Workers to Get Home Computers, Internet Access

By Justin Hyde, The Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) - Ford Motor Co. is offering personal computers to its 350,000 employees worldwide for their home use.

The three-year deal, being coordinated by PeoplePC Inc., of San Francisco, also includes a color ink jet printer and Internet access, all for $5 a month.

"This program keeps Ford Motor Company and our worldwide team at the leading edge of e-business technology and skills," said Ford president and chief executive officer Jac Nasser in announcing the deal today.
"We're committed to serving consumers better by understanding how they think and act. Having a computer and Internet access in the home will accelerate the development of these skills."

PeoplePC offers a computer and Internet access deal to the general public for $25 a month for three years. Ford's arrangement also includes a printer and more powerful computer; the company also pays the shipping costs for all its employees who are interested in the program.

Ford officials would not estimate the cost for the program. If employees who take part in the program leave before the end of the three-year deal, they will likely have to pay the company fees that have not been determined. Employees do not have to take part in the program.

"This program is a tribute to the collective bargaining process and to our solid relationship with Ford Motor Co.," United Auto Workers President Stephen Yokich said.

The UAW and Ford reached a four-year contract in October, and Yokich said that's when the union first pitched the idea for the computers.
The union represents about 100,000 hourly Ford workers in the United States. In addition, Ford has 150,000 hourly employees outside the United States and about 100,000 salaried employees worldwide.

The program will be launched in the United States in April and globally within 12 months.
The base computer has a 500-megahertz processor, 64 megabytes of RAM and a 4.3 gigabyte hard drive. Employees will be able to upgrade to three more powerful computers at their expense.

Internet service will be provided by UUNET, an MCI WorldCom company based in Fairfax, Va.
Employees will access the Internet through a special site that will offer direct links to many Ford services and information and will be customized for different regions of the world.

-- Ashton & Leska (allaha@earthlink.net), February 03, 2000


Thanks for the post. This is an interesting story. The times, they are a changin'. =)

-- Dee (T1colt556@aol.com), February 03, 2000.

Whoa big fella. Is this a case of "Devil in the blue jeans knocking at the door"

Wonder how many human resource jobs can be eliminated through centeralization? How many "required viewing" hours assigned? What other kinds of unknowns will be released from this invasion of the home by corporate enterprise? Voluntary today, mandatory tommorrow?

I guess the suggestion box of tommorrow will be an e-mail addy, if it isn't already. Feels like the old camel and tent parable to me.

"Well Ms. Jones, we're sorry to inform you that your job has been assigned to a server robot"

-- Michael (mikeymac@uswest.net), February 03, 2000.

LOL Good point Michael. Might be Bye Bye Miss Amer...well, you know. =)

-- Dee (T1colt556@aol.com), February 03, 2000.

Good deal for Ford employees. Not bad for HWP shareholders.



-- M Halls (Ezmonydm@aol.com), February 03, 2000.

It's a trend. What a perk! But how can they all blow it so far by not choosing Apple Macintoshes?

All that $$, such a waste, lemming bad inferior choice falls off the cliff still.

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Delta Offers 72K Workers PCs

Delta to offer PCs to 72,000 workers

Move follows similar announcement by Ford Thursday

REUTERSNEW YORK, Feb. 4  Delta Air Lines Inc. Friday became the latest major U.S. company to offer subsidized personal computers and Internet access to all its employees, a day after automaker Ford Motor Co. announced a similar program.

DELTA SAID it would offer its 72,000 employees consumer PCs for $12 a month over 36 months. The PCs would include a monitor, keyboard, mouse, software and free Web access and would provide direct access to Deltas internal corporate computer network.

Delta spokesman John Kennedy said its Wired Workforce program would pave the way for a wired workforce with every Delta employee having the ability to connect to their company electronically.

Ford offers free computers to entire staff

While the move could be seen as threat to the traditional cultural boundaries separating worklife and homelife, Kennedy said working remotely from home would be a voluntary option, not a requirement.

There is no expectation that people will work from home, he told Reuters in a phone interview.

On Thursday, Ford said it would give its 350,000 employees free Hewlett-Packard Co. PCs and printers, as well as Internet access for a cut-rate monthly fee of $5.

PeoplePC Inc. of San Francisco will manage the program for Delta and Ford.

The Delta subsidy program marks a substantial discount to the $24.95 PeoplePC typically charges to other customers as part of a package when they buy PCs and no printer.

PeoplePC has yet to determine which PC maker would supply the equipment as part of the Delta program. A spokeswoman for PeoplePC said Hewlett-Packard, Compaq Computer Corp., International Business Machines Corp. and Toshiba Corp. were under consideration.

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (allaha@earthlink.net), February 04, 2000.

Nice that these posts are date-stamped (time-stamped would be good too ;^) since we called the trend first!

Still think it's an awesome perk!

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http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2433354,00.html?chkpt=zd hpnews01

PCs for Ford, Delta workers: Global trend?

PCs for Ford, Delta workers: Global trend?

The cost is high, but the benefits many, to giving employees free or low-cost PCs and Internet access, say analysts. Will the programs announced by Ford and Delta spread to other industries?

By Jennifer Mack, ZDNet News, UPDATED February 4, 2000 6:29 PM PT

New programs introduced this week by Ford Motor Co. and Delta Airlines giving employees heavily subsidized computers and Internet access could be the start of a global business trend, according to industry observers.

On Thursday, Ford (NYSE: F) announced a partnership with PeoplePC, a provider of low-cost computers and Internet access, which will give Ford employees a free Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HWP) computer along with Internet access provided by UUNet for $5 a month. The program is available to all of Ford's 350,000 global employees and will be managed by PeoplePC of San Francisco.

Delta Airlines (NYSE: DAL) announced a similar partnership with PeoplePC on Friday.

All of Delta's 72,000 employees worldwide will be eligible to receive a computer and Internet access for no more than $12 a month over 36 months. The computers will likely be supplied by Compaq (NYSE: CPQ), HP, IBM (NYSE: IBM) or Toshiba. Negotiations are ongoing and could result in a rate lower than $12 a month.

In announcing the programs, both companies cited a desire to create a more technologically savvy workforce.

The underlying expectation of the program is that, as employees become more comfortable with using technology as part of their daily lives at home, they'll likely transfer that newfound confidence and skills to their work.

"By investing in tools for employees, Delta believes it will create a competitively superior workforce," said Delta spokeswoman Peggy Estes.

Look for similar deals

Industry observers expect the announcements to spawn a slew of similar programs at other companies, particularly in the auto industry, where Ford is considered a leader.

According to Rob Enderle, analyst for Giga Research, the United Auto Workers union, which represents thousands of autoworkers at the major car makers and was heavily involved in creating the Ford deal, will likely make the program a negotiating point in its dealings with other automakers.

A spokesperson for General Motors (NYSE: GM), makers of Chevrolet, Pontiac and other popular cars, would not say whether the company was discussing the issue with the UAW but did note that the topic was not included in the company's current agreement with the union.

The benefits to both employees and companies make it likely that the airline and auto industries will not be the only ones to consider giving their employees home PCs and Net access.

Michael Shays, of management consultant group EMS Consulting, said he believes such programs can lead to better communications between companies and their employees, potentially higher retention rates and a more educated, tech-savvy workforce.

Is high-tech next?

"While this has some cost initially, in the end the benefits they get by making employees more productive will have a positive impact on their bottom line," Enderle said.

Enderle said the next group to move toward this model will likely be the high-tech industry. Companies such as Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) are likely contenders to lead the way, he said.

"I have a hard time believing the tech industry isn't going to take this up and run with it. It makes absolute sense for the companies that sell this technology to benefit from this," said Enderle.

Threat to retailers?

Such programs could undermine electronics retailers, however, analysts say.

"If this trend were to pick up it would have an impact on retail sales and I suspect on some direct sales," said Lou Mazzucchelli, an analyst at New York-based brokerage Gerard Klauer Mattison & Co.

"If you're an average employee at Ford who can suddenly buy a machine at a bargain-basement price, subsidized by your company, why would you ever want to walk into a retail store?" he asked.

However, some retailers put a brave face on the issue.

"We'd love for everyone in the world to have a computer," said Suzanne Shelton, a spokeswoman for CompUSA (NYSE: CPU), the No. 1 U.S. computer superstore chain, adding that she's not concerned that the Ford and Delta deal will hurt sales.

"The margins are thin, but that's a fact of our industry," Shelton said. "What's also true is that once people get a PC and they get a little familiar with technology, then they want the other things that we sell in our stores."

Analysts also said that because direct sales of PCs have only recently taken a turn for the better, direct sellers such as Gateway Inc. (NYSE: GTW) and Dell (Nasdaq:DELL) could look to improve consumer sales through deals with their corporate clients.

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (allaha@earthlink.net), February 05, 2000.

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