Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison has softened his line in the war between PCs and network computers, admitting that PCs can be part of an NC network and run NC software. At the official launch of the NC next month, Ellison will configure a network of NCs in 15 minutes.
When he introduces the first NC products in Japan on 15 April, Ellison will attempt to build a complete NC network in 15 minutes to prove his claim that the hardest part of creating such a system will be getting the tape off the cardboard packaging. The NCs on show will run on Digital Strong Arm and Intel chips and cost between $300 and $800.
Speaking at the Networked Economy Conference, Ellison also reiterated his view that PCs could become NCs using software (see Newswire, 6 March). "PCs won?t go away," he said. "But the ideal of moving disk storage off to the network is much more appropriate. It?s vastly more reliable."
The NC software will run on PCs using browsers, Ellison said. "All you have to do is put the application server on your network and you can turn your PC into an NC." He also insisted that many NCs can run video and multimedia applications.
Next month, Oracle subsidiary Network Computer Inc (NCI) will show two server applications, a client operating system and another iteration of its Applications suite for the Web package. That contains Java-based modules including financial, manufacturing, supply chain management, human resources and payroll software.
NCI has begun negotiating to OEM the software to hardware manufacturers for their NC devices, the company said.
Ellison predicted NCs will outsell PCs by 2000 and his bullish outlook has been reinforced by figures from Internet analysis company Zona Research, which predicts there will be 78 million network devices sold in 2000. Zona, which was bought by Intelliquest three weeks ago, said 3.8 million NCs will be sold this year, including televisions that allow Internet access.
Zona?s figures forecast the NC will sell 10 times as many machines into the home and consumer market as in the business market by 2000, and that 1998 and 1999 will be the year that NC sales boom.
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