In an effort to reduce inventory at its distributor warehouses, Compaq Computer is giving away free 15-inch monitorsÐvalued about $300 apieceÐwith its commercial desktop PCs through the end of May. The move was announced one week after the company reported that flatter-than-expected sales would wipe out its first-quarter profits.

Compaq chairman Eckhard Pfeiffer issued a statement saying, “We are putting in place price reductions and aggressive promotions in the first and second quarters to reduce these channel inventories.”

A free monitor will accompany the purchase of a Deskpro 2000 model with a Pentium II processor or a Deskpro 4000S or 4000N model. In addition, Compaq has reduced the prices of select Deskpro 2000 models by 6 to 11 percent and Deskpro 4000 models by 4 to 10 percent. Deskpro 2000 models now start at $1,129 and Deskpro 4000 models start at $1,249.

The company is hoping to streamline its manufacturing and distribution processes to make it more competitive with direct sellers like Gateway and Dell. Compaq’s consumer business, which is not suffering from inventory overload, is not included in the new promotions.