In fact, the Zonbu might even be a great idea — except for the fact that it doesn’t cost anywhere close to $99. Or rather, it costs $99 in the same sense that a computer from Bill’s PC Warehouse costs $200 because it doesn’t include a monitor, keyboard, mouse or any software (which I’ve always thought was a little like taking the wheels and the engine out of a car and then advertising it for sale at $50). As Zoli Erdos points out in his post on Zonbu, the box actually costs about $250 when you go to buy one. In order to get the $99 deal, you have to sign up for two years worth of online data storage, which brings your total cost to about $400.
Okay, $400 isn’t a bad price for a networked PC with automated backup and a small form factor — except that you still need a monitor and a keyboard and mouse. I can buy a fully-configured Acer or HP desktop with all kinds of bells and whistles for $400. It might not fit under the counter or look good tucked onto a bookshelf, but it comes with a 160-gig hard drive, and I don’t have to call it a stupid name.