Bill Gates has declared final victory over the network computer, slamming Larry Ellison's original concept as ludicrous, as well as dismissing Sun's plan for Java is a non-starter.
Microsoft's chief executive was speaking today to IT managers and vendors at the European Forum held by analyst group, IDC. Two years ago at the same event he and Ellison clashed head to head over the Oracle chairman's thin client vision. Now he was able to proclaim: "The NC is pretty discredited."
He noted with some pleasure the failure of Ellison's vision and the continuing domination of the PC.
"Larry Ellison made some very specific predictions...now even the showcase customers are moving away from the network computer...moving back to the tools and richness that are available on the high volume platform [of Windows]," said Gates.
He also took the opportunity to have a dig at arch rival Sun and its ambition to run across all platforms, saying that, "the same people that had come up with the NC idea have more ideas of the same ilk...ludicrous notions."
"Quite how much evidence will it take before people realise that there are different platforms and the least common denominator approach doesn't work," he added.
Gates said the Internet was now a key part of all development work being done and that Microsoft was putting significant investment into creating gateways from the Windows environment to mainframe data.
"We want to let people keep data on the mainframe but do their Internet development on Windows," he said.
He also said Microsoft's annual $3 billion research and development budget was heavily focused on making the PC a more usable tool. He cited further development of handwriting recognition software in particular which he believed would be perfected and available within two years, as well as new tablet devices on which to run it. Voice recognition and improved user interfaces were also a priority.
The games market was another area that Microsoft was targeting, with low end PC technology being developed to take on Sony's and Nintendo's dominance of the games console industry.
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