US Report: Net-friendly iMacs suffer Net problems

Many new iMac owners in the US are having serious trouble getting their "Internet" Macintoshes to reliably connect to the Net.

The problems crop up when the new owners try to set up connections with an Internet service provider (ISP) other than EarthLink Network, which has its access software preloaded in the computers. "If you're not using EarthLink, they made it kind of tough on you," said Drew Linsalata, president of the all-Mac ISP MacConnect.

Linsalata and other independent access providers said they are getting numerous calls from customers unable to connect or keep steady connections on their supposedly Internet-friendly iMacs. The iMac tech support Web site has numerous postings from frustrated new owners. Some surmise the problem is in the modem initialisation code, but, as of yet, no reliable answers exist. "We've spent hours messing with it, but we don't really have a solution at this point," said Jamie Dolan, technical manager at PowerNet Online Services, an ISP in the US.

Apple officials did not respond to several telephone calls.