Ellison's Second Network Computing Company To Shut Down

from the another-one-bites-the-dust dept

Back in October of 1999, I was confused when Larry Ellison announced plans to launch a company called New Internet Computing (NIC) to sell “internet terminal” computers. Besides the fact that many other such attempts at selling people web terminals with no hard drive had failed miserably, Ellison had already started another company, similarly named Network Computing Inc (NCI) that morphed its way into Liberate. Lots of people then expressed surprise when Ellison named a journalist with no business experience to run the new company. Well, three and a half years later (and under new management), the company has admitted that they never got anywhere near their expected sales volume and are shutting down. While it’s easy to point out flaws in retrospect, many of these were pretty obvious at the time the company launched. Most people don’t want a device that limits their options – and many don’t feel comfortable knowing their data is “out there”. Also, without widespread always-on internet connections, it’s important for people to have local access to applications and data. The response to this was always that widespread always-on connectivity was just around the corner. However, if the people could predict that, they should also have been able to predict the fact that computer components were going to get increasingly cheaper, to the point where it would be possible to offer a fully functional computer (with a hard drive) for about the same price as this company wanted to sell machines without a hard drive.

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Comments on “Ellison's Second Network Computing Company To Shut Down”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Oracle one trick pony

Although I’ll have to admit that I occassionally like Ellision’s style (almost as often as I balk at his style), I’m afraid that his compnay and products are based upon being in the right place at the right time.

Now that the evil empire has his little product niche in its’ sites, it won’t be long before he’ll have to sell his Mig.

I’m seriously afraid that Ellision, exactly like Bill, just doesn’t get it. (Open Source Software, that is). If Ellision had any intelligence at all, he would have contributed to one of the many killer open source products that do what he was trying to achive…. One springs to mind immediately: Knoppix. How some kid in Germany with extremely limited resources can get right what a billionair directly funding a pet project can’t is an abject lesson in the stupidity of money without passion (and that lesson inevitably happens to anyone with more money than they know what to do with).

Knoppix is so close being the network computer that you boot up anywhere and have your desktop customizations/preferences follow you via the web and smart key/card, that it’s frightening.

All said and done, I guess Larry’s getting a little old himself.

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