"The company's troubles began last month, when hackers
discovered that with a little cable they could turn the company's
cheap $99 Internet appliance, i-opener, into a bargain computer.
Netpliance had planned on making up the cost of the machines (as
much as $300) with subscriptions to its ISP service. But when
people turn i-openers into PCs, they no longer need to connect to
Netpliance's $21.95-per-month ISP. The machines sold out, but the
business plan went out the window."
"Its share price having hovered below its March 17 IPO level,
Netpliance decided to try Plan B. Last week, the company announced
that those who had ordered an i-opener would have to sign up for
ISP service for at least three months before they could get their
"Hey, Netpliance – here's lesson one of open-source
development: When someone modifies your technology, don't break the
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