Is Oracle Corp veteran Jerry Held the first victim of the failure of the network computer to find a mass market? Senior vice president for server technology, Held has left to pursue other interests – though there was no word as to whether he jumped or was pushed. But significantly, Oracle said that his replacement by Gary Bloom will lead to a more consistent message. While Oracle president Larry Ellison once predicted a dazzling future for network computers, the company now admits that customer adoption of NC devices has been mixed – a management euphemism normally employed when a product falls well below expectations. Indeed, Oracle, is now happy to include PCs in its network computing vision. Certainly, there are few signs of NCs sweeping away PCs in corporate markets. A survey by Merrill Lynch and Co of 50 chief information officers in September (CI No 3,257) found that while a quarter have NC pilot projects underway, most believe that it will be little more than a niche product. The one company that still seems bullish about the future for NCs is IBM Corp, which expects by the end of the year to have shipped 100,000 units and have 10,000-12,000 installed internally (CI No 3,247).
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