My only emachine is a PC, Emonster with a PIII 500 Mhz. I bought it a while back (several years or more) and during the first year sent it back 3 times waiting 5 to 12 weeks each cycle. Between the poor phone tech service during that time, undependabe waiting times and obvously no one at Emachines really cared at all, I swore it was my last.
Well here I am years later and the PC is still running, once the 3 return cycle finally ended. It was the lack of any real customer service that turned me off. Now I contrast that with Gateway and still being able to get drivers from machines that were discontinued years ago today. Unless emachines web site has changed they were only carrying the current models and maybe two generations back, but thats it. I don't konw if this has changed since the merger or not.
I've always like mfg that continued just basic support like drivers for years after a prduct was no longer sold. Examples that come to mind are 3Com for NIC card drivers and HP for printer drivers. It not that they are cheaper or better in some performance way, it that in the long haul I won't have to replace a piece of working hardware just because the driver was lost.
I have over 100 Gateway PC's at work out of just under 200 total. When servicing them post warranty, I can just punch in the serial number and get all the drivers I need for that specific unit. I don't keep restore CD's as it would be more of a hassle than its worth only due to the volume of PC's and laptops I have to support. The serial number system works much better for me. I just need 3 CD's. (98se/win2k/XP Pro) Yes, I can reactivate XP with no issues.
I have my work and home laptops Gateways. Work being a Centrino 450 model and at home a cheap celeron 400VTX (running win2003 enterprise). Most but not all the laptops at work are Gateway 450's with a new one being the M460 w/upgrades on CPU/RAM/HD.
The only major complaint I have, is the loss of the country stores. Just after (six months) I bought my Gateway laptop for my home, the local county store shutdown. So I lost the convience of dropping my laptop off at the local store and having them ship it out for me (also why I bought an extended warranty and accidental damage for 3 years). Now I've have to have it serviced just like it was a Dell.
I hope the existing emachine users gained some greater depth in web support for even just getting or maintaining older drivers for emachines like gateway does now. I also hope that the existing line of older drivers does'nt get dropped due to new emachines mgt sytle.
If older drivers do get dropped or become a paid service, they would become dropped as one of our pool of suppliers, due to lack on online driver support. We use machines until they are far past (years) what most people would ever push there home PC's to. So online driver support for legacy products is a minimum req for us.
Hopefully Gateway will still be around due to the merger and hopefully emachines will be given another shot at becoming a positive term, rather than a punch line.
We shall all see....