Intel and Microsoft Release NetPC Reference Specification For Broad Industry Review

HANOVER, Germany, March 12, 1997 — Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp. today released the NetPC reference specification for broad industry review. The NetPC is a new class of personal computer for business designed to reduce ownership costs by delivering new manageability advances and a sealed-case design. NetPC systems will offer the performance and flexibility of traditional PCs and will be compatible with existing investments in hardware, software and training. The NetPC family of products will extend to the highest levels of processing performance and will include entry-level systems starting below the $1,000 price point.

The NetPC is part of a broad industry effort to reduce the cost of managing a distributed PC environment while delivering the business flexibility, performance range, and network and application compatibility needed to increase customers’ overall return on investment. Three of the industry’s leading PC manufacturers, Compaq Computer Corp., Dell Computer Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co., helped develop the reference specification for the NetPC, which is supported by more than 100 of the world’s top PC manufacturers. NetPC product announcements from many leading PC manufacturers are expected over the next 90 days.

The NetPC will take full advantage of a wide range of management innovations that Intel, Microsoft and other industry leaders are working to introduce across all business PCs.

NetPC features include the following:

  • All hardware devices can be recognized and managed by software, aiding in successful remote troubleshooting and repair.

  • NetPCs can be managed remotely via standard interfaces and protocols.

  • Systems can be automatically configured and installed over the network.

  • NetPCs can be automatically updated in off-hour periods.

  • There are no ISA slots, ensuring that all hardware devices can be recognized and managed by software.

  • A sealed case prevents modifications by end users to the hardware configuration.

“The NetPC will quickly deliver what will soon be available to all business PCs: the latest total cost of ownership (TCO)-reducing innovations in network manageability to complement the power, flexibility and compatibility of high-performance Intel® -based systems,” said Pat Gelsinger, vice president and general manager of the desktop products group at Intel.

“We believe the NetPC is a great business computer because it delivers compatibility with today’s standard PC and network infrastructure with dramatically reduced management and support costs,” said Jim Allchin, senior vice president of the personal and business systems group at Microsoft. “In addition, we expect many of the innovative NetPC features to find their way into other PC product lines.”

The NetPC is the latest step in Intel’s Wired for Management initiative and Microsoft’s Zero Administration initiative for Windows® to further reduce the costs of business computing by boosting the manageability of networked PCs while enhancing the strategic and productivity benefits of high-performance PC computing. Customers who purchase NetPCs will see immediate benefits from central administration, remote network configuration, off-hour maintenance and constant monitoring.

In addition, customers who purchase NetPC systems this year will be ensured of a seamless migration path to advanced management capabilities in future versions of Windows operating systems.

Intel and Microsoft will work jointly to incorporate the NetPC manageability innovations into the next generation of the PC hardware design guidelines, which the companies will co-author. That effort will build upon today’s hardware guidelines, PC97, to define the requirements for business and consumer systems to take full advantage of the latest platform developments that are emerging and the software innovations delivered by Windows operating systems and Windows-based applications.

Support From Co-Authors of the NetPC Reference Specification

“Compaq is committed to continue delivering the most manageable PCs with the lowest total cost of ownership in the industry,” said Mike Winkler, senior vice president and group general manager, PC products group at Compaq. “We believe customers will be able to maintain their investments in industry-standard hardware and software with the NetPC. Compaq has taken an active role in defining the NetPC Design Guidelines and will continue to work on the broad industry review of the guidelines.”

“The release of the NetPC reference specification is an important step toward helping enterprise computing customers reduce their costs of ownership,” said Eric Harslem, senior vice president, products and technology strategy at Dell. “Dell has consistently supported open standards, which is one of the reasons we have participated closely in development of this NetPC specification. We believe a highly manageable PC, based on Microsoft and Intel solutions, offers the best route for customers looking to reduce their overall cost of ownership. This standard of manageability can extend across the full range of PCs and applications in most large businesses. It also offers customers a totally managed approach, based on open industry standards, within the framework of their existing environments. The NetPC and other manageable PC platforms, combined with system software solutions from Microsoft and good technology management practices, can help customers significantly lower their costs of ownership.”

“The NetPC will be a particularly appealing option for mission-critical, task-oriented end users,” said Jacques C. Clay, general manager in charge of the commercial PC business for HP Company. “When deployed with leading industry-standard desktop and system management tools, we anticipate that NetPCs will enable organizations to significantly reduce PC ownership costs. We continue to view the NetPC as a seamless extension to our Vectra business PC family – highly reliable and manageable yet unrestrained by the performance and compatibility limitations inherent in competitive designs.”

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 (

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Intel is a registered trademark of Intel Corp.

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