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Gateway Denies Amnesty Exists; Dell Says Just Trying to Help

Round Rock, Texas ( — Dell Computer today said it supports extending the amnesty period for anyone possessing a Gateway computer, arguing Gateway owners should be given "at least" two more weeks to hand over their equipment to police without fear of arrest and conviction.

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An outraged Gateway CEO Ted Waitt, however, denied there is an amnesty program, and accused its rival of fabricating the story to scare people into dropping Gateway and buying Dell products. In response, Dell CEO Michael Dell called Gateway's allegation "truly worrisome."

"If Gateway is correct and there is no amnesty program, that would mean the police can arrest anyone using Gateway products right now," said Dell. "Honestly, they should be warning their customers about this."

But Waitt insisted that is not what he meant. "There is no amnesty program because it is not illegal to own a Gateway computer, so there is no reason to have an amnesty," he said. "Why on Earth would it be illegal to own a Gateway?"

Dell said he wondered about that too. "I'm not a lawyer, so it would be improper for me to comment on the specific reasons why thousands of Gateway owners have been imprisoned and had their houses and families taken from them. I just heard it's been happening."

"That is absolutely ludicrous!" said an enraged Waitt.

"I totally agree," said Dell. "That's why we believe the amnesty should be extended, so that this doesn't keep happening. I mean, I know Gateway is having revenue problems, but you'd think they'd at least want to keep their customers out of prison."

"Some things are just more important than profits," Dell added. "At least that's how we see it."

A spokesman for San Diego-based Gateway later said the company would file a complaint with the California attorney general's office, accusing its rival of unscrupulous business practices. Dell, however, said no filing is necessary.

"Look, we're out there supporting a fellow computer maker in its hour of need, but if Gateway doesn't want our help, then we'll stay out of it," said Dell. "We're going to be busy helping IBM with their exploding ThinkPads anyway."


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