Ten Oracle Net Appliances for the Auction Block

Puzzling for a way to make the five-year-old network computer concept interesting again, a company established by Oracle Corp. has opted to put the ten of the devices up for auction on Amazon.com Inc.'s Web site.

Last week, Oracle's Chairman Larry Ellison [CQ] announced that the Net appliances known as New Internet Computers or NICs were set to go on general sale to consumers Tuesday (July 4), American Independence Day. Aimed at giving users fast, easy access to the Net, the NICs come from The New Internet Computer Co. (NICC), an independent company launched in May and funded in large part by Ellison.

A NIC costs $US199, or $US376 factoring in the cost of a 15-inch monitor, a mouse, a keyboard, speakers and shipping, according to information on NICC's Web site. The current bid in the Amazon auction, which is due to close Monday, is $300, with 78 bids logged to date and the majority of bidders wanting one NIC, although a few people are bidding for two or five of the 10 devices.

The ten NICs in the auction are limited edition releases, with a broader release of the devices due later this month.

NICs run version 2.2 of the Linux operating system from a CD and contain a 266MHz Pentium-class CPU (central processor unit), 64M bytes of RAM (random access memory), 4M bytes of flash memory and a 56K-bps (bits per second) modem, according to details about the devices on Amazon's site.

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