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April 16, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:08pm

ORACLE PREVIEWS TODAY’S NETWORK COMPUTER LAUNCH IN JAPAN

By CBR Staff Writer

Anita Byrnes reports from Tokyo

Following Oracle Corp’s European pre-announcements last week of the network computer clients due today (CI No 3,137), the company added a few extra details for its Japanese customers, in what was supposed to be Larry Ellison’s keynote address at an Oracle Executive Forum yesterday. Ellison’s place was taken by Jeff Menz, director of product management of Network Computer Inc, the Oracle subsidiary which has stage-managed the development of the Network Computers. Menz used a Funai Electric Co Ltd 133Mhz, 32Mb RAM network computer to demonstrate the five main applications which will be released with the Oracle Network Computers. The applications are mail, a simple text editor, presentation graphics using its HatTrick presentation applets (CI No 3,036), an address book and a calendar/scheduling application. All these applications are stored on the NC server in HTML. Menz emphasized that while the machine he was using did not have Japanese capability, the ones shown and available at today’s launch would be multi-lingual and have a Japanese desktop permitting Japanese input. At the bottom of the network computer screen ran a ticker- tape band which when clicked permitted browsing of video or other favorite pages on the Web. Menz said there were eight different models in production, and that as of today, Oracle was ready to ship thousands of network computers to change the way people compute. Beyond the hype, Oracle does well in Japan. Its aggressive marketing has paid off. This week, advertisements for network computers are even posted on the trains. Oracle partners in Japan include NEC Corp, CTC, the systems integrator arm of Itochu Corp trading company which together with Nihon Sun Microsystems covers the sales on Sun workstations, Enicom, the integrator spin-off of Nippon Steel Corp and Softbank Corp. At Oracle Open World two years ago, these partners are rumored to have received discounts on product on the basis of the number of their employees who attended the show. Oracle Japan’s president, Chikara Sano, attracts attention in Japan with unique policies such as bringing his dog to the office to raise employee morale – in fact prior to joining Oracle he was a successful IBM Corp executive. Particularly in the Windows NT market in Japan, Oracle7 holds a 61% market share, compared to Microsoft Corp SQL Server with 30%. Other speakers at the Executive Forum included Ray Lane, president of Oracle Worldwide Corp and chief operating officer, who also presented Oracle applications, and Jerry Held, senior vice-president for Server Technology.

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