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October 6, 1999

Oracle Chief Announces Resurrection of Network Computer Inc

By CBR Staff Writer

By Siobhan Kennedy

Larry Ellison, the chairman and CEO of Oracle Corp said yesterday that the company behind its new low-cost hardware platform would probably be called Network Computer Inc, the name given to Oracle’s first NC efforts and then promptly dropped after the technology died an embarrassing death. Speaking at the Internet World trade show in New York yesterday Ellison said that despite previous failings he was prepared to give the NC another go.

As previously reported by ComputerWire, the new device will feature a Linux operating system, a Netscape Navigator browser, an AMD K6/2 processor, 64MB of RAM and a 56K modem for web access. It will cost $250 with a monitor and $150 without. You just turn it on and it works, he told the audience during his keynote presentation, so NCs are still alive and well.

Oracle originally set up NCI with Netscape Communications Corp (Oracle subsequently bought Netscape’s share) to build network computers at a time when Ellison and his cronies were predicting the end of the PC era. But throughout 1998, as the phenomenon failed to take off, the company quickly morphed NCI into Liberate Technologies Inc and changed its focus to concentrate on putting NC-like features in television sets. Liberate was successfully spun off earlier this year in a $100m IPO. It remains to be seen whether renaming his new venture with a name that most people associate with an embarrassing failure will do Ellison more harm than good. If at first you don’t succeed…..

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