AOL dives into cheap PC business

America Online Inc. is taking an ownership stake in low-priced PC maker eMachines, in a strategic move designed to make signing up with the online service easier and more affordable.

Under the agreement, AOL will offer a $400 rebate on the purchase of an eMachine computer to consumers signing up for three-year memberships to its new and improved CompuServe 2000 online service.

The rebate can be applied to the purchase price on three eMachines models, including eMachine's $399 eTower - essentially offering users a free PC in return for signing an online service contract for 36 months at about $21.95 a month.

Amerca Online has a web site at . eMachines site is located at .

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