Feeds

NCD to 'cease operations'

Slim pickings for thin clients

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

Exclusive One of the older thin client vendors appears to be closing shop, The Register has learned. Network Computing Devices (NCD) will stop all operations by year end, according to a company memo. Calls to NCD's CEO and CFO were not returned, and a spokeswoman said the company has no comment at this time.

"NCD is currently in the process of ceasing operations," the company said in a memo to workers obtained by The Register. "The company will close operations on December 31, 2004."

The US company seems to have a skeleton staff at the moment. Calls placed to NCD's main line, technical support line and customer service line were all greeted by answering machines.

In February of this year, NCD worked to consolidate its European operations as a cost-cutting measure.

NCD started way back in 1988. Some of its earliest products were thin client terminals designed for Unix users. Later, NCD developed a Windows-based client running Microsoft's Windows CE operating system. It currently makes a variety of hardware and software products in its ThinPATH line and has offices in the US and Europe.

The thin client remains one of those great computing ideas that never really took off. Unlike PCs, thin clients typically ship with a minimum set of innards. They simply connect back to a server. This means the client on a user's desk is typically smaller, cooler and more quiet than a regular PC. Advocates of the thin client also argue that it's cheaper and more secure to manage clients from a server as opposed to rolling out software updates to myriad individual PCs.

Sun Microsystems is the last of the big vendors really pushing the thin client idea. A number of others, however, do now offer clients that connect back into a blade server that functions as a PC, which is a similar attack. Sun has recently been talking about possibly having service providers give away its thin clients to users for free in exchange for ongoing software subscription services. This model is similar to phone companies that give away or subsidize the cost of mobile handsets.

NCD enjoyed a large amount of press back in 1998 when thin client hype was particularly high. It shared product development with the likes of Intel and IBM and secured strong endorsements from Microsoft. Its X Terminal products were particularly popular for a time, but the firm steadily lost market share.

Most of NCD's current hardware sales go to Europe with it focusing on software in North America. Competitor Wyse Technology estimates that NCD sold less than 900 thin clients in Europe last quarter.

"They were playing a very small role," said Jeff McNaught, vice president of communications at Wyse.

Wyse remains optimistic about the thin client market despite NCD's apparent problems. IDC predicts the thin client segment will grow much faster than the PC market in the coming years. Close to 400,000 thin clients were sold worldwide in the third quarter of this year. ®

Related stories

What the hell is a thin client?
NCD raids Wyse for UK operations
NCD scores thin client deal with EDS
NCD and Intel to leanly dally
The post-PC era is upon us
ClearCube puts bells and whistles on blade PC
Thin client thrives in Web services era
Transmeta powers brace of HP thin clients

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
Attack of the clones: Oracle's latest Red Hat Linux lookalike arrives
Oracle's Linux boss says Larry's Linux isn't just for Oracle apps anymore
THUD! WD plonks down SIX TERABYTE 'consumer NAS' fatboy
Now that's a LOT of porn or pirated movies. Or, you know, other consumer stuff
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
FLAPE – the next BIG THING in storage
Find cold data with flash, transmit it from tape
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.