How The `Pc Killer' Was Humbled

Slow machines and cheap rivals undercut network computers

When Otto K. Folprecht first heard about slimmed-down desktop machines called network computers (NCs) two years ago, he was jazzed. The information-systems manager at steel-products maker Tree Island Industries Ltd. in Vancouver, B.C., hoped to slash his computing costs 30% by replacing as many as 400 PCs with simpler, cheaper machines from Sun Microsystems Inc. But after more than a year's delay, he ditched Sun and bought terminals running Microsoft Corp.'s Windows programs off a central computer. Says Folprecht: "I would have hoped for something from Sun a lot sooner."

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