As it continues to define a place for its mainframes and servers in the Internet world, IBM is now paying attention to the desktop with the creation of a Network Computer division.
The division will be headed by Bob Dies, general manager of the AS/400 unit which developed IBM's first NC - the Network Station - announced in September. It will coordinate all of the company's NC efforts, including development of system architectures, hardware, software and network management.
Chairman Louis Gerstner said customer interest in the NC has been very high. "Customers are looking for solutions that lower the cost of desktop computing and provide access to networks."
As to the NC versus PC debate, Gerstner said there wasn't one as far as IBM was concerned. "IBM will be a leader in both the NC and the PC market. What's important is not the device, but what the device enables people to do," he said.
In a separate announcement, IBM has strengthened its relationship with Sun subsidiary JavaSoft. The company has agreed to license the JavaOS operating environment for NCs and the HotJava Web browser. It will also create the industry's first Java Validations, enabling developers to test their Java applets and applications for free on systems from Sun, Hewlett-Packard and IBM.
Patricia Suelz, vice president of Internet software at IBM's Internet division, said: "We are very pleased to work with JavaSoft and other industry partners to expand the range of tools, technologies and application software that will make Java real for business."
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