Microsoft today announced specifications for its NetPC platform which has the support of PC manufacturers including Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Digital. Using the familiar rhetoric of Network Computer evangelists, Microsoft said the NetPC will provide zero administration and reduce PC ownership costs.
Microsoft insisted the platform will not be a replacement for the conventional PC, but is targeted at 'task-oriented users' who don't require the flexibility of a PC. The requirements for a NetPC include a 100MHz Pentium, 16Mb RAM, a hard disk, support for networking, a lockable PC case and no end-user expansion slots.
Other supporters for the platform include Gateway 2000, Packard Bell NEC and Texas Instruments who will work with Microsoft to produce the budget machines. Hewlett-Packard said it will include a NetPC device in its 1997 Vectra PC line.
Julie Cox, Microsoft business systems group marketing manager said a synthesis between the PC and NC models can be achieved: "[Microsoft together with Intel] have been talking to customers for a very long time now and they said that one of the benefits of the PC is its flexibility. IT managers don't want to take away that flexibility. We wanted to give IT managers zero administration but allow the user flexibility and control."