Ellison: I'll get you, Gates

Laughing Larry refuses to say die

Larry Ellison refuses to let his indescribably unpopular network computer (NC) concept rest in peace. Despite being greeted with a tidal wave of apathy when first announced four years ago, Larry's one man crusade to single-handedly destroy the entire Wintel PC industry [Surely 'launch a cheap, limited function computing device' ? - Ed] is about to enter a new phase with the launch of New Internet Computer Co. NIC is owned by local San Francisco man Mr L. Ellison, and the company will today unveil a $199 machine that is capable of doing little other than send email, surf the Web and get up Bill Gates' nose. Larry is currently in the running for the world's richest man title as a result of the M$ share price slump and will be putting his money where his mouth is (lucky he has an awful lot of money) by giving away 1,100 of the dinky devices to local schools. Initially the box will be aimed at the education market, but former TV presenter Gina Smith, New Internet Computer's chief executive, said: "When we come out with a consumer computer later this year it will be the easiest to use machine on the planet." Smith admits that NIC is the second version of an idea that already failed. Ellison tried to replace personal computers with $500 NCs back in 1996. Unfortunately, conventional PC prices shortly dropped to the same level, making the NC about as popular as a fart in a crowded lift.

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