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Wednesday, November 17, 1999


In the book The Plot To Get Bill Gates there is a chapter that delves into a machine called a "Network Computer". Larry Ellison, the guy who ran Oracle for a bunch of years wasn't using that phrase to describe a computer that was networked to other computers in an office, or even in a home. He had an idea that people could buy a machine that would have a minimal amount of software on it - basically just enough to run the modem and some sort of dial up application. Once you got that machine home you would plug your phone line to it and dial up a server that contained all of your actual applications.

You wouldn't buy software, you would simply use the application on that remote server and save your documents on the remote server, thus removing any need to buy a hot machine and save yourself a wad of cash. Sure, there are privacy issues regarding storing your private documents on someone else's server (these issues could easily be addressed with basic encryptions) but the service would allow us, the average folks, to use the best applications for a small amount of money a month in exchange for shelling out big bucks for a crazy fast and expensive desktop machine. Effectively, this would be like a subscription to TV Guide or your local cable company. Internet Service Providers could even include it with their existing services.

Ellison suggested this years ago and tried to make it happen, but it never did happen. Most likely because of his insistence that people buy these new "Network Computers" to use the service - what he should have suggested was a service that could be used with a regular PC or Mac.

Now, I'm not suggesting that this is a good service and that we all should get behind such a thing. All I am saying is that Ellison had this service in mind years ago. What happens on November 8, 1999? Bill Gates unveils his newest service - a service where you can access the latest version of Microsoft Office on a remote server. No software or software upgrades required. Sheesh. That'll teach Larry Ellison and anyone else to open their mouths about a good idea - without making sure they had it finished first. Moron.

1 comment:

  1. Of course, ultimately, even Gates couldn't make such a service a success. It would take Google to eventually do it "right". There's also that does the same thing. Pretty sweet in my mind. Now the pressure is off to back up every day, though I do it anyway since there are no versions of Final Draft online yet. :( (And if there were, something tells me they'd not be free.)