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[Fwd: Fwd: Oracle unveils $199 Web device]

From: David Poehlman <poehlman@clark.net>
Date: Wed, 10 May 2000 09:57:39 -0400
Message-ID: <39196AD3.78DDB62B@clark.net>
To: User Agent Working group list <w3c-wai-ua@w3.org>

From: http://www.sjmercury.com/svtech/news/breaking/ap/docs/47796l.htm

Posted at 9:31 p.m. PDT Monday, May 8, 2000

Oracle unveils $199 Web device

AP Business Writer

DALLAS (AP) -- Oracle Corp. chairman Larry Ellison is banking that he didn't
have the wrong product five years ago -- only the wrong market.

Ellison unveiled a $199 Internet machine Monday targeted at the education
and consumer markets. The presentation was made before an audience of
at a performing arts high school in Dallas.

Calling it ``this amazing $199 computer,'' Ellison said the device ``is
going to allow us to put a computer on every child's desk'' by 2005.

Five years ago, Oracle and Sun Microsystems Inc. joined to create so-called
network computers for business customers. The machine was a commercial bust.

Greg Blatnik, an analyst with Zona Research, said the earlier $500 computer
was designed mostly to break the grip of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating
system on corporate America's desktops.

This machine, he said, might be better targeted.

``We've got many examples of Internet appliances that are at least finding
some niche in the market, sometimes a substantial niche,'' Blatnik said.

``Schools need products that are pretty solid and failure-proof ... These
types of devices fit into that market really well.''

Unlike a personal computer, the device lacks a hard drive. Instead, users
who connect it to the Internet will be able to check e-mail and surf the

Ellison said Oracle, the giant database software company based in Redwood
City, Calif., will donate more than 1,100 of the machines to 23 Dallas

The machine is being marketed by The New Internet Computer Co., an
eight-employee firm based in San Francisco. Ellison, who owns about
one-fourth of Oracle,
is the primary owner of the privately held company.

The computer, named the NIC, is being made by a subcontractor in Taiwan,
said Gina Smith, a former newspaper and television reporter tapped by
Ellison to
be the new firm's chief executive.

The machine runs on a Linux operating system, has a 266-megahertz
microprocessor, 64 megabytes of memory, a 56K modem and 24-times CD-ROM
drive. Monitors
are not included, although Oracle's philanthropic arm will give away
monitors to schools, Smith said.

People would still have to obtain Internet access elsewhere, either through
paid or free Internet service providers, though most schools have networks
which children can connect to the Internet.

Cheap Internet devices have tried and failed before, and the NIC will face
competition from machines such as the i-opener from Netpliance Inc., which
costs $99, though users have to commit to a $21.95 monthly Internet access

Stephen Baker, an analyst at PC Data in Reston, Va., questioned whether the
NIC will do any more for Ellison's considerable wealth than the earlier

``Chances are, at $199, the profit potential is kind of limited. The way you
make money is add-on fees,'' such as for Internet access, Baker said.

The NIC, however, is not going to get involved in providing Internet access,
officials said.

``We're making money at $199, but it's a narrow margin,'' Smith said. ``The
way you make up for that is in volume. We're going to sell a gazillion of

On the Net:

Oracle's academic initiative

i-opener, at

(PROFILE (CO:Sun Microsystems Inc; TS:SUNW; IG:CPR;) (CO:Microsoft Corp;

Copyright   2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Regards Steve,
Received on Wednesday, 10 May 2000 09:57:33 UTC

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