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Bill Gates shot my Shark, says Ellison (again)

Beast of Redmond totally responsible for NC flop, not Oracle's fault at all, honest...

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Oracle boss Larry Ellison has repeated claims that Bill Gates personally intervened to stop Digital's development of an NC, codenamed Shark. Answering a question at Upside's Showcase in Palm Springs, Ellison said that the Network Computer concept hadn't taken off because Bill Gates called Bob Palmer, then Digital CEO, and told him not to make them. Ellison has apparently been telling people this is the first time he's said this in public, but maybe this means that his view of "public" is different from most people's. In September 1998 he and a number of former Digital employees spoke to the New York Times (privately and separately, presumably) about the cancellation of Shark. According to the Digital guys Shark, which had been a joint project with Oracle, was cancelled in response to pressure put on Palmer by Gates, while Ellison then said that Palmer wouldn't tell him why the project had been canned. So he didn't quite say it then, but he seems to have hinted fairly heavily. Even so, Ellison coming up with the death of Shark at Bill Gates' behest as the reason why the whole NC concept failed to take off is a little extreme. At the time Shark was pulled it seems to have been pretty advanced in development, and there was a prospect of sales of around 500,000 of them in China. But it was a prospect, not a promise, and a lot of other manufacturers' NCs didn't take off either. Did Bill call all of them, Larry? ® See also: Gates forced Digital to kill NC, says Ellison

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