Microsoft is now in the third phase of stealing Oracle Network Computer concept after launching the Web Companion at Comdex on Monday, according to Larry Ellison, Oracle's chairman and chief executive.
The software giant has just announced a new low cost Windows CE based Internet access device that resembles a simplified laptop.
The prototype, which was demonstrated at the Comdex trade show in Las Vegas, was manufactured by Compaq and is due to ship by the end of this year, although it will not be generally available until the second half of next year.
But Ellison said at the supplier's Openworld user conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday: "The first stage of Microsoft stealing someone's idea was to say that's ridiculous and noone needs it. The second stage was using some of the idea in its PCs such as lower prices and making them easier to use."
He continued: "The third stage was yesterday when it announced its own NC, the Web Companion, and said 'ours is better than yours'. Stage four will be when Bill [Gates, Microsoft's chairman and chief executive] says it was our idea in the first place and all we asked for was a chance to innovate."
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