Scott McNealy entered the PC stronghold that is Comdex today and won the crowd over with a compelling demonstration of network computing - plus a slew of Microsoft jokes.
Despite all the humour, the theme of his speech to thousands of Comdex attendees repeated his regular mantra: The network is the computer. As McNealy, and badges distributed to the audience, succinctly put it "Now they get it."
"Has anybody heard any good monopolist jokes lately," he quipped, mimicking Bill Gates request for lawyer jokes in his keynote on Sunday.
"For Sun it's the same old story, we haven't had to change. We haven't had like visions, or new directions, new strategy meetings, we haven't had to go into off-sites and say 'right now what do we do - this network thing is happening?'," he continued.
Everything with a digital electrical heartbeat is going to be connected to the Internet, he said. Houses would have 40 to 50 microprocessors inside he predicted, with the set-top box as the hub managed by a service provider, without any complicated user intervention required.
"My one and a half year old can operate a set-top box. He hasn't quite mastered NT yet," he said.
He said Internet deliveries would wipe out grocery stores because they could deliver so easily and cut out the numerous middle men that handle products before they reach the customer. In the future local stores could become pick-up points where delivery companies could leave orders at anytime and let customers pick up goods from a personal smartcard controlled locker and fridge.
"Do you realise of the top 10 PC applications, always five of them are applications that undo or fix what you did with the first five!" he said.
He said $1.1 billion per month of venture capital was being invested in technology start ups and he could not find a single new company developing an operating system or software application to sell. It was all Internet technology and services.
They showed the 2000 Seville Cadillac from GM, which is the first Internet enabled car. It read out McNealy's latest news and email directly from his personal Web portal.
He said Star Office has had one million downloads and more than a million disks given away. A Sun team demonstrated how a Sun Ray network terminal could, via smart card log-in, access your server based personal desktop. They demonstrated showed how you could unplug the terminal and plug back in to reaccess the application without the need to reboot.
Sun is currently replacing 25,000 workstations with Sun Ray devices, McNealy said.
McNealy said next month Star Portal, Sun's online version of its personal productivity software Star Office, will be released in an early access program next month and rolled out to service providers in the first half of next year. It would be free to them in order that they could provide free services to end users.
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