The internal cat fight between IBM Corp’s NetPC, a stripped down diskless personal computer with 100Mbps Ethernet capability which was showcased at last month’s PC Expo in New York by the IBM PC Company (CI No 3,183), and the Network Computers due out soon from its Network Computer division (CI No 3,042), has begun. The […]
The internal cat fight between IBM Corp’s NetPC, a stripped down diskless personal computer with 100Mbps Ethernet capability which was showcased at last month’s PC Expo in New York by the IBM PC Company (CI No 3,183), and the Network Computers due out soon from its Network Computer division (CI No 3,042), has begun. The success of the NetPC , Microsoft Corp and Intel Corp’s answer to the Network Computer, when combined with IBM’s LANClient Control Manager, is assured, according to the IBM PC Company. The box will be compliant with Intel’s Wired for Management specification, with availability planned for October 1997. While the company was not forthcoming with a price, it said the NetPC would remain very close to standard personal computer prices, making it considerably more expensive than the $700 IBM Network Station, the interim version of its Network Computer, based on hardware from Network Computing Devices Inc. However, it appears that IBM cannot even agree with itself as to what the market needs: a Network Station or a NetPC, a situation which has failed to impress the analysts. IBM’s NetPC which has all the appearance of a domestic radiator, has the edge on other vendor’s boxes, according to Karl Lawall, market strategist with the IBM PC Company. But the NetPC sits uncomfortably with the Network Station, the same one, so IBM was telling us not that long ago, that was set to revolutionize personal computing. If you ask the IBM PC Company, the Network Station will primarily be used for the low hanging fruit of terminal replacement. But that view is not shared by Derek Ashmore, marketing and operations director for IBM’s Network Computing division. who says the Network Station will be used as an access device across all platforms. Meanwhile, senior analyst Katy Ring of UK-based researchers Ovum Ltd says the entire NetPC concept is doomed to failure. She points out that the NetPC is a still born strategy and has been overtaken by other events. In eighteen months all the NetPC features will be available in new personal computers. Intel’s EtherExpress Pro/100 100 Mbps Ethernet adapter, for example, has been integrated with IBM’s Wake on LAN remote boot-up product and LANDesk Client Manager software. IBM said its NetPC is more robust than those of other vendors, attributing this to last October’s Advanced Manageability Alliance agreement, when IBM and Intel Corp agreed to integrate systems management software with so-called intelligent hardware. It’s a more robust implementation of the overall manageability of the system, said Karl Lawall, market strategist with the IBM PC company. IBM’s NetPC can be turned off remotely. Not ‘deep sleep’, but off. There is no-one else in the industry who can do that, he said. That’s as may be, but in the opinion of Bloor Research senior analyst John Sniadowski. the NetPC is a stop gap strategy. I think IBM is just hedging its bets, he said.