Sun Can't Beat X Terminals, So It's Joining Them

Figuring that real engineers want real workstations, Sun Microsystems Inc. has always refused to sell X-terminals, a hybrid machine that combines the low cost of "dumb" computer terminals with the fancy graphics of engineering workstations. Problem is, rivals such as Hewlett-Packard Co. and Digital Equipment Corp. have been stealing Sun customers by offering low-cost packages of X-terminals hooked to workstations. That allows more than one user to share the expensive computer. Moreover, X-terminals have taken off: Market researcher X Business Group predicts that sales will jump 46% this year, to $728 million.

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