Network Computer (NCI), an affiliate of Oracle, has outlined its strategy for selling NCs in the UK and Europe, and said it can start delivering products in the next few weeks.
But the company has shrugged off worries that it could find itself under pressure from Microsoft for having a similar look and feel to Windows 95.
Mauro Righetti, president of NCI's Emea region, said: ?We provide an interface similar to Windows 95 because we do not want to confuse users. We haven?t licensed the interface from Microsoft. If they?re pissed off, it serves them right, because they?ve pissed off a lot of people in the industry.?
He said that the company, with its hardware and software partners, was addressing the enterprise, the educational and the consumer markets with a three-pronged strategy.
He said that it was selling a Network-in-the-Box solution at a price of $4,995, through Sun and HP reseller Morse. The product comes with a 200MHz Pentium server with 64Mbytes of memory, a 3.2Gbytes hard drive, a CD-Rom, two NC x.86 clients, an NC server software suite and a five-port Ethernet hub. That, he claimed, could be set up within 20 minutes.
The home market will be addressed with an NC/TV, which will allow people to browse the Internet while watching their favourite TV shows. That will be sold direct. The educational and small business sector will be targeted via a distributor network and through a Web site.
Righetti said that the corporate version of the product will be capable of running a wide range of applications including Oracle databases, SAP applications and the various Java applet suites that were close to release, such as Lotus Kona.
He would not be pinned down to exactly how many NCs are targeted to sell in the first year, but said: ?Every research company says that the NC will be a significant force." He quoted one as saying that 80,000,000 units will ship by 2000.
The machines themselves will be produced by a range of companies including Accton, Fundai and Acer and while there were expected to be NCs by the end of the year thath use the ARM chip, most would come fitted with Intel 133MHz processors.
Intel, said Righetti, had put a joint proposal with NCI to CableLabs in the US for cable modems and was committed to the concept of the NC.
Mark Byatt, business development manager at reseller Morse UK, said: ?We?ve seen a tremendous amount of interest from our corporate user base and Network-in-a-Box is a way to allow them to evaluate the platform. We?ve been impressed not only by the interface but its performance and we are considering using the technology within our own organisation, rather than PCs.?
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