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September 22, 1995


By CBR Staff Writer

Oracle Corp founder Larry Ellison says he will next year demonstrate a cheap network computer that will push personal computers out of the networking limelight. The computer is being developed with unspecified manufacturers and would sell for about $500, and will be a powerful device offering fast access to the World Wide Web of the Internet along with electronic mail and multimedia capabilities, Ellison told analysts in Philadelphia earlier this week, speaking by two-way satellite link from Oracle headquarters in Redwood Shores. They will be able to do a lot of the common functions that are done with the personal computer a lot more cost effectively, and a lot more reliably, and they’ll do some things you can’t do with a PC at all, he said. The network computer will only be usable on-line to the Internet or similar network, and will not have local storage device such as a hard disk, floppy disk or CD-ROM drive, he said: The network computers have two cords, one you plug into the wall for electrons the other you plug into the wall for bits, he said. Presumably, a remote server operated by Oracle will store your files and all the software. The machine sounds exactly like a version of the Pippin games version of the Macintosh that Apple Computer Inc has just promised, which will attach to a television and be used for Internet access – except that according to Ellison, his operating system will be developed by Oracle. If we could make $10, or $20 bucks… or even $50 per appliance, we’d be thrilled, he said. Ellison jeered that a personal computer costs a business about $4,000 to $5,000 a year in maintenance and depreciation. These things are enormously expensive and they are enormously complicated, he said. Target markets for the network computer would include schools and homes.

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