In his keynote speech at the Oracle developers' conference in Paris, Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison reiterated his view that the network computer (NC) will succeed in wresting control from the dominant Windows-Intel PC alliance. He also said a likely price for the NC will be $200 rather than his previous estimate of $500.
?Is the Microsoft PC the last computer that will ever be invented?? Ellison asked. ?It is star-date 2495, 500 years from now. When Spock is on the deck of the Starship Enterprise, is it going to be using Windows 95, this PC that takes one and a half minutes to boot up? We won?t have 500 years of Windows.?
Ellison claimed that the computing industry went through 15-year cycles. ?The S/360 was developed in 1950 and they?re still around,? he said. VAX machines had appeared 15 years later, while the PC came 15 years ago.
?The industry has to develop a new generation of computers,? he said. ?The newer generation is always lower cost than the old. The NC will vastly outsell the PC. The PC is an incredible device and it?s virtually a mainframe on your desktop, but it?s not simple.? He said that even Intel admitted that PCs had a cost of ownership of $8,000 a year.
?This has been called the age of TV,? he said. ?97 per cent of American households have TVs and the number is much greater in Japan. TV has changed the culture of America and American culture is exported through this ubiquitous device.? The same was true of telephones but only 34 per cent of US households owned PCs, he said.
?That means 70 per cent of north America is disenfranchised, 90 per cent of western Europe is disenfranchised. How can we move to the information age?"
He added that he had initially promised a $500 price tag for the NC. ?I was wrong. If you buy an NC it will cost $200 while a fancy one might cost $800. If you?re a consumer, the phone companies will give you an NC for nothing,? he said.
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