Oracle is set to conquer the Phillipines with network computers following a deal signed by chief executive Larry Ellison and Phillipine president Fidel Ramos, to supply a nationwide networking infrastrucuture to kickstart the country's economy.
Project Phil-Net will initially put NCs on the desks of Filipino college students at three universities in order to give them access to the Internet, but will be extended to encompass every home in the country. Over 100,000 NCs will be installed throughout the Phillipines.
"Any Phillipine family will be abe to afford an NC," claimed Ellison at the ceremonial signing of the contract at Oracle headquarters in California on Thursday. "Any Phillipine family will be able to get on the Internet."
Oracle?s contract is with the Phillipine Long Distance Telephone Company, but the signing of the deal was timed to coincide with the visit to California of President Ramos, who visited Oracle for the ceremony and lunched with Ellison afterwards. "We must have access to the smartest technology so that the next generation of Filipinos will have the skills they need to compete in the global economy," Ramos said.
The deal is a useful propaganda victory for Ellison, who has always claimed that NCs can be used in ghetto communities in the US to improve standards of education and has said he wants to see a portable NC in every US school kid?s satchel. President Clinton?s interest in this idea - voiced during his campaign fund raising tour of Silicon Valley - appears to have lasted only as long as the presidential election.
The ceremony in Redwood Shores was highly good humoured. Disturbed at one point by an overhead plane flying low overhead, Ellison commented: "I think Microsoft has launched an aerial attack." Ramos displayed his politiical diplomacy by wearing an Oracle baseball cap on stage, despite the fact that it was made in the Dominican Republic. "I?m sure we can make a better hat in the Phillipines than this one," he joked.
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