In a surprise announcement today, Google, Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG) said it will be offering 15.5 million Google Laptops – which it calls GoogleBooks – available for free, on a first come, first served basis.
Google spokesperson, Shari Bramault, said the promotion will start on April 15, 2015 and will continue until all of the GoogleBooks have been given away. In a press conference yesterday, Ms. Bramault said the free GoogleBooks feature 14″ HD screens, 4 GB of RAM, a 128 GB Solid State Hard Drive, and are WiFi and Ethernet capable. GoogleBooks will be available in three colors – blue, black and pearl white – and while customers can indicate a color preference, Google will not guarantee that a customer will receive the computer in the color they chose. “We will make every effort to accommodate color preferences but we simply can’t guarantee colors”, Bramault said.
In order to receive the free GoogleBook laptop, customers are required to pay a $29.95 shipping, insurance & handling charge for each device ordered. Google said the laptops will be shipped via FedEx or UPS depending upon the customer’s location. Customers must also agree to a special Google’s Terms of Service which restricts users from modifying the device in any way. Google also said in their press release today that there is a strict limit of one free GoogleBook per household.
Hopeful customers can start placing orders for free GoogleBooks starting at midnight Pacific Daylight Time (U.S.) April 15, 2015; Ms. Bramault urged Customers to submit their orders as early as possible on that day. Most experts expect Google will run out of free computers within 8 to 10 hours after the giveaway launches.
Market analysts say the promotion will cost Google nearly $50 billion and doubt Google will offer free computers again. Market analyst Marcum Wayneskeet of Blue Nations Press said: “The logistics and cost of this giveaway are unprecedented and I personally can’t imagine Google repeating this type of event…”