David McAughtry is the man charged with making a go of IBM's NC division in Europe. A Big Blue veteran who has worked in large projects like OEM and OS/2, he brings a wealth of experience to the job. In a meeting at last week's Networks '97 show in Birmingham, PC Daily News asked him about his take on the future of networked computing.
There's a lot of talk about the positioning of the NC - what's your view?
Network Stations [IBM's name for NCs] are aimed at corporate intranets and are very niche focused. It's where the Net meets IT infrastructure. The question I keep asking myself is why didn't it happen three years ago...
Because Java wasn't there?
Java isn't new. Java is only the best practice of object-oriented coding. It's just a version of C++ that stops you doing stupid things. I think what's new is the base. 40 million people have an IP stack, which is just mind blowing. The navigation method is standard.
The things that the NC will hit you with are bandwidth and security, I absolutely agree. The cool stuff now is on intranets. When the bandwidth is available it'll be on the Internet. 6Mbits shouldn't just be used for shipping GIFs faster. I'm here because this is the breeding ground for more cool stuff.
Can you point to real sales potential?
10,000 Network Station sales by the end of March in Europe, all to pilots. That's why [the NC division] is not a part of the PC Company, not a part of the server business.