Internet Device Startup Targets Corporate Users

BOSTON (05/10/2000) - The startup formed by Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison to get $199 Internet-access devices into schools also has its sights set on corporate users.

In an interview this morning, Gina Smith, CEO of The New Internet Computer Co.

(NICC) in San Francisco, said the company will "absolutely" target the corporate market. A corporate version of the company's Linux-based device is expected to be available before the end of the year, she said.

Smith, a former technology journalist who was handpicked by Ellison to run the new company, said that while NICC initially plans to sell to schools and individuals, companies will be targeted as well. The device is meant to be used "anyplace where somebody needs to reduce cost," she said.

Known as the NIC, the device differs from the network computer that Ellison unsuccessfully attempted to market several years ago in that it doesn't need to be linked to a server to operate.

All software for the device, including a version of the Linux operating system, a Netscape Navigator browser and WinFrame software from Citrix Systems Inc. that lets the machine run Windows applications, comes on a CD-ROM. The NIC also houses a 266-MHz processor from Cyrix Corp., a 56K-bps modem and two Universal Serial Bus ports.

The version to be aimed at corporations will be essentially the same box that is now being delivered to schools following the official launch of the product on Monday. However, Smith said the device, which is made by a Taiwanese company that she declined to identify, can be customized for large corporate orders. In either case, the price of the machine "will never go above $199," she said.

What will distinguish the corporate version from the education and consumer versions will be the software that accompanies it, Smith said. For example, she said, there will be more network-specific software and expanded modem support included on the CD-ROM that comes with the corporate device.

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