Tulip Computers began shipping its NetPC last week but is cautious about the likely success of the platform.
Peter van Leeuwen, product marketing manager at Tulip in the Netherlands, said: "Our first batch of 100 NetPCs is being produced this week with a sealed case. It's very hard to know how successful the NetPC will be," he added. "We adopted our current desktop design to make the NetPC, but then so did Compaq."
Tulip is predicting that only around 5% of PCs shipped next year will be NetPCs and van Leeuwen blamed Microsoft and Intel for not helping the situation.
He said: "Microsoft and Intel are lagging behind with the software." Although many vendors are already shipping NetPCs, Intel's Lan Desk and Microsoft's Zero Administration for Windows (ZAW) are still in beta.
Much of the support for additional manageability depended on future implementations of Microsoft operating systems too, he said. Windows 98 and Windows NT 5.0 offered support for manageability but end users remained confused about future Microsoft direction, he added.
"Microsoft has to create an upgrade path to NT," he said, with end users questioning whether Microsoft would unite Windows 98 and NT at the same time, "now NT (5.0) has shifted to 1999", he said. "Microsoft is the worst in planning. Windows NT 5.0 is delayed, Windows 98 is delayed and Windows 95 was delayed." He said Tulip was attempting to get a cogent answer from the software giant.
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