Depending upon how you look at it, Toshiba's U.K. notebook division is either patriotic, or betting against the home team.
In a promotion the firm is running both online as well as in several major U.K. newspapers, Toshiba and Intel are offering 66 percent rebates on selected Intel Core Duo notebooks — but only if England wins the World Cup of soccer, which begins June 9 in Germany.
U.S. customers have yet to be offered the same discounts, however, leaving the small fraction of U.S. notebook buyers who follow soccer potentially out in the cold.
Toshiba representatives in the U.S. said Wednesday that executives were in training sessions, and were unavailable to answer questions.
The U.K. promotion began on April 27 and runs through June 8, 2006, hearkening back to 1966, the first, last and only time England won the World Cup.
Toshiba has made 66 notebooks eligible for the promotion. Users must register with the site — WinWithEngland.co.uk — and then answer a trivia question. If correct, the notebook will be eligible for the rebate.
"It's really quite simple — anybody who buys a Toshiba notebook with an Intel Core Duo in it is eligible," a spokesman for Toshiba's U.K. Computer Systems division said Wednesday. "It's quite an amazing discount."
Toshiba also released a special, limited-edition gold-plated World Cup notebook in Japan, which celebrates the most recent Cup winners.
Toshiba is not the first to come up with the offer; Bennett's, a U.K. electronics dealer, is offering a 50 percent rebate on digital televisions if England wins the Cup; the first HDTV broadcasts will be of Cup coverage, offered by satellite provider Sky.
As with any team picked to win a competition, the odds are against England, and therefore in favor of Toshiba.
However, a survey of England's chances by the top U.K. betting agencies show them as receiving 6-1 to 11-1 odds to win it all, second only to the favorite, Brazil.
William Hill lists the odds as 8:1, with Ladbroke's downgrading the odds slightly to 10:1 after striker phenom Andy Rooney recently injured a metatarsal bone and is listed as doubtful to play.
The 66-percent rebate offer has not been offered to Toshiba's customers in the United States, which has never won a World Cup.
British oddsmakers list the Americans' chances as between 51-1 to 100-1 of winning.
In 2002, the United States and England were eliminated in the quarterfinals by Germany and Brazil, respectively, which went on to meet in the finals. Brazil won the match and the Cup by a score of 2-0.