The copyright-protected information contained in the ANNEX BULLETINS is a component of the Comprehensive Market Service (CMS). It is intended for the exclusive use by those who have contracted for the entire CMS service.
PCs & WORKSTATIONS
Halloween Opinion Column on an IT Industry “Trend”
“NC” Is a
Back Memories of “PC Jr.,” “Newton”
PHOENIX, Oct. 31,
- “Trends are bottom-up, fads are top-down,” noted John
Naisbitt in his 1982 bestseller book, “Megatrends.”
by that definition, NC (Network Computer - a cheap, scaled-down PC) is a
CEO-driven fad, not a market-driven trend.
If NC were what the end users really wanted (and it’s not),
wouldn’t it negate the entire “PC revolution?” (which was truly a
bottom-up trend). Instead, the NC is bringing back memories of IBM’s “PC
Jr.,” or Apple’s “Newton” - some of the IT industry’s notable
all started with Lou
Gerstner’s speech at the Comdex in November 1995.
He said that IBM was building an inexpensive PC in its labs (which
later the industry dubbed the “NC”), which the Big
Blue’s chairman expected “to be shipping to select customers early
next year” (i.e., in early 1996).
December, Microsoft’s Bill
Gates also jumped on the NC bandwagon.
And this year, Oracle’s Larry
Ellison became the industry’s hype champion of the latest fad.
for IBM’s bottom line, Gerstner’s forecast didn’t quite pan out,
although IBM did announce, what was dubbed a “Thin Client,” in July.
this week, IBM and Intel made a joint announcement to deliver new
network-enabled PCs early next year which would be no less powerful than the
existing ones - hinting that IBM may (wisely!) be backing away from the NC
so elsewhere in the industry. In
September, Ellison predicted that the NC price will be $299, not $500, and
that it would be out next month.
this is the last day of that “next month” (October), and the only place
we could hope to find such a $299 NC is in a Halloween “haunted house.”
also predicted that telephone companies would be offering NCs for free to
subscribers in the next six months.
possible, but we wouldn’t be holding our breath for it, either, come March
31. After all, aren’t the Baby Bells supposed to make money, too?
”Billary” duo (Gates and Ellison) have been joined this week by
Sun’s Scott McNealy, who has also started to hype up the NC idea.
of the things I’ve discovered about this industry is that it absolutely
thrives on hype; it just loves hype,” said the person who started all this
NC hype - Gerstner - speaking at last year’s Comdex,
obviously a quick study on hype.
what do the customers think of the idea?
would anyone in their right mind want a Network Computer?” Ellison was
asked by one of the attendees at the Agenda
Conference last week, according Spencer Katt, writing in the PC Week (see 10/28/96 issue).
Ellison started to answer the question, he was interrupted by the
questioner. Then he lost it. “Jesus
Christ, will you shut up... and who are you anyway? You’re the wrong kind of a person to judge this!”
to win friends and arguments, Ellison!
And to show a customer who is boss.
For, this exchange took place in front of some “500 industry
honchos,” Katt explains.
incident also illustrated what it might take to sell the NC: Ram it down the
customers’ throats, whether or not they want them.
it’s good for the vendors. The
“PC revolution” has liberated the end users from the shackles of the
“glass house IT czars.” Now,
the latter species has joined forces with the vendor community to try to
wrest the control back, using the PC and network maintenance cost savings as
the end users don’t give a hoot about things like that.
They care about the enriched functionality which makes them more
productive in their jobs. Those
are the goals which the customers’ CEO should also be striving for.
Offering them an NC instead of a PC is like trading in a fancy cable
TV set for an old AM radio.
of course, for those customers who still get their news by smoke signals
(read the “dumb” terminal users in large corporations).
Everywhere else, the NC will be a tough sell, Ellison style - hammer
down the throat.
IT industry has progressed when it made its customers one of the following
three value propositions:
same function for less
more function for same
more function for less
NC pitch offers the customer less
function for less money. That’s an uncharted territory for end users.
Happy bargain hunting!
Give us a call at: 602/824-8111 or send us an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor: Bob Djurdjevic
5110 North 40th Street, Phoenix, Arizona
| Annex Research | Quotes | Workshop | Feedback | Search | Columns | Clips | Activism |