IBM, Oracle and Sun said last week they are working together on a "Webtop Specification". The spec would offer a consistent environment for users across NCs from different vendors. A road map for the technology is expected within a month. The plan is to offer software developers a common set of services and APIs, which will help speed up the development of Java applications. The specification and a reference implementation will be licensed to hardware and software manufacturers. IDC analyst Carsten Hejndorf warned, however, that thin client software must be able to integrate with more traditional PC desktop environments if it is to be successful within large enterprises. Though many are based on the same NC Specification, the Network Computers on sale today differ widely in user interface and in the applications they offer. Analysts see the attempt to standardise the NC interface as a response to Microsoft's Hydra, which has already received industry support.
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