Oracle's Larry Ellison has put some of his money where his oversized mouth is by setting his company on a collision course with Microsoft after announcing Oracle will unveil an operating system dedicated to his other preoccupation, the Network Computer.
Dubbed NC Server 1.0, the OS announcement rounds off a frenetic year for the desktop industry and for Oracle in particular. So much has happened in such a short space of time, it has sometimes been difficult to gauge the impact of the past 12 months. But if Oracle's timing was a surprise, the content of Ellison's message can't have been.
Once known as a database company that did a few other odds and sods, Oracle (or Orrible as it is fondly known in some quarters) has reinvented itself with a combination of genuine positional change and shrewd marketing hype. Ellison has willingly filled the personality void created by his number one enemy, Bill Gates, and got on his hind legs to talk up the NC story more often than we have cared to count.
And he has been largely successful. Even if you don't 'buy' what he has to say, he's made plenty of people think about what they are doing and why they are doing it. Not only suppliers, but more importantly users.
In a matter of weeks the market was a buzz with talk of the NC.
Now the buzz is clearer, and more substantial. What started off as a background noise has become a din. But is it loud enough to drown out Microsoft? See you next year for the next instalment. Happy Christmas and a prosperous Network Computer (sorry, New Year).
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