REDMOND, Wash., and SANTA CLARA, Calif., Oct. 28, 1996 — Microsoft Corporation and Intel Corporation, with support from other leading software and hardware vendors, today announced an initiative to develop the NetPC reference platform. The NetPC is a new member of the PC family that will reduce the costs of business computing by optimizing design for a particular class of task-oriented users that do not require the flexibility and expandability of the traditional PC.
Based on Industry Standards
The NetPC is a new PC family member, not a replacement, which allows PC vendors to build Intel® architecture systems based on the Microsoft® Windows® operating system that lower the cost of owning PCs. The overall benefit will be reduced support costs, a stable hardware platform for several years, a lower initial purchase price, and the ability to build upon existing organization training, development and capital investments in Windows and applications designed for Windows.
PCs have always offered the highest level of price/performance, compatibility and adaptability. Customers want to continue to reap these benefits, but have a PC option that supports even lower cost of ownership. The NetPC reference platform will specify industry-standard components (i.e., processor, memory, hard drive, video, and audio) with an integrated network adapter or modem in a locked case with limited expandability to prevent user modification.
“This new effort, to deliver a PC platform for specific types of users, builds upon Intel’s Wired for Management initiative to reduce total cost of ownership without sacrificing necessary performance,”
said Frank Gill, executive vice president at Intel.
“By delivering an appropriate level of flexibility, the NetPC is the natural next step in further reducing total cost of ownership while maintaining the strategic value that PCs deliver to business.”
“The NetPC offers the critical elements of both PC computing and network computing without introducing costly incompatibilities,”
said Jacques Clay, general manager in charge of worldwide commercial PC business at Hewlett-Packard Co.
“The NetPC will provide customers with the best combination of end-user simplicity, low cost of ownership and high return on investment of any solution available for task-oriented computing. HP is committed to delivering a NetPC solution in 1997 as part of our Vectra PC family, extending the range of best-in-class client, network and systems management solutions we offer to our desktop customers.”
NetPC Complements Initiatives for Reducing Total Cost of Ownership
The NetPC, along with most traditional PCs, will enable customers to reap the benefits of Microsoft’s Zero Administration initiative for Windows and Intel’s Wired for Management initiative. For instance, it will allow organizations to easily update software remotely or allow users to move seamlessly from one machine to another with all their data and applications accessible and their customized environment automatically applied to the new PC.
“The NetPC will be an important PC platform that organizations can deploy to increase return on investment, especially when combined with Microsoft’s Zero Administration initiative for Windows,”
said Paul Maritz, group vice president at Microsoft.
“The Zero Administration initiative builds on companies’ existing investment in Windows, while allowing them to automate PC management and deploy the widest choice of applications in a controlled way.”
Broad Industry Support for the NetPC
Leading PC manufacturers announcing support today for the NetPC include Compaq Computer Corp., Dell Computer Corp., Digital Equipment Corp., Gateway 2000 Inc., Hewlett Packard, Packard Bell NEC and Texas Instruments Inc.
“Compaq’s objective is to maximize customer value by delivering systems solutions with the lowest total cost of ownership in the industry,”
said John T. Rose, senior vice president and group general manager, enterprise computing group at Compaq.
“Compaq looks forward to working with Microsoft and Intel to deliver even further reductions in total cost of ownership with the NetPC.”
NetPC Reference Platform Requirements
As a part of their ongoing commitment to reductions in total cost of ownership, Microsoft and Intel will lead an open design review to finalize the specification for the NetPC in the last quarter of 1996. Requirements of the NetPC will include the following:
Pentium® processor, 100 MHz or greater
16 MB minimum system memory
Support for an internal hard disk for caching
External keyboard connection
External pointing device connection
VGA-compatible display adapter with a minimum 640×480 resolution, 8 bpp
Support for one of the following: Ethernet, token ring, 28.8 Kbps modem, ISDN, T1 or ATM
Buses and drivers compliant with current Plug and Play specification
Unique Plug and Play device identification for each system device and add-on device
Protection preventing users from incorrectly connecting to devices
Minimal user interaction for installing and configuring devices
Device drivers and installation that meet the specifications of the Windows and Windows NT® operating systems
A machine-readable unique ID for each machine
Audible noise quieter than 35 dBA
Lockable PC case
No end-user expansion slots
Microsoft and Intel will work with industry leaders to determine the best way to incorporate emerging technologies into future versions of the NetPC to continue to reduce ownership costs for customers.
Industry-Leading PC Manufacturers Support the NetPC
“At Dell, we have consistently supported open standards, which is one of the key reasons we believe today’s announcement is critical,”
said Michael Dell, chairman and CEO of Dell Computer.
“The industry has seen a number of proprietary designs for network computers proposed recently – a clear step backward that would require customers to support multiple computing environments, increasing support costs and complexity. We believe a highly manageable PC based on Microsoft and Intel solutions is better for customers looking to reduce their overall cost of ownership. The NetPC concept is ideal for task-oriented workers, and the NetPC design specification offers customers a totally managed approach within the framework of their existing environment.”
“Digital, known worldwide as a provider of enterprise solutions and for its commitment to the Windows NT platform, strongly endorses industry efforts to lower the overall cost of ownership for personal computers in networked environments,”
said Scott Cutler, vice president and chief technology officer, personal computer business unit at Digital.
“We have traditionally focused on manageability and security in networked business environments, and we endorse efforts in the industry to move in this direction, as it is critical to customer needs.”
“The NetPC initiative addresses issues that are critical to our enterprise customers, such as the manageability and flexibility advantages of the industry-standard PC,”
said Ted Waitt, chairman and CEO of Gateway 2000.
“We are committed to working with Intel and Microsoft on this important initiative.”
“Packard Bell NEC is pleased to join Intel and Microsoft in support of this industrywide initiative to reduce the overall cost of ownership to our commercial customers,”
said Beny Alagem, chairman and CEO of Packard Bell NEC.
“Unlike other solutions being presented in the industry, the NetPC will fit seamlessly into our customers’ environments.”
“Reducing ownership costs is important for portable users as well,”
said Pallab Chatterjee, president of Texas Instruments Personal Productivity Products.
“Texas Instruments is excited about joining Microsoft and Intel to reduce support costs for our mutual enterprise customers. Windows-based systems also provide total value of ownership, which is the essence of the reasons people purchase computers.”
Intel, the world’s largest chip maker, is committed to advancing the managed, connected PC for high-performance business computing while reducing management and support costs. Information about Intel is available from the company’s site on the World Wide Web at URL (http://www.intel.com./pressroom/) .
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