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PC Expo pushes industry envelope

Servers, direct sales, and "dumb terminal" software at PC Expo offer a glimpse of the near-future of corporate computing.

Servers, direct sales, and software for "dumb terminals" headlined this week's PC Expo trade show in New York, which offered a glimpse of the near-future of corporate computing.

Anticipating the June 29 release of Intel's Xeon Pentium II microprocessor, leading PC makers such as IBM and Dell previewed upcoming servers and workstations based on the 400-MHz chip. Xeon is important to Intel because it offers the company a chance to recover shrinking margins in the consumer end of its business.

On the software side, Microsoft took the wraps off Windows NT Server 4.0 Terminal Server Edition, while Citrix Systems and a host of other companies touted software intended for companies looking to centralize desktop applications on a server computer. Whether Windows-based Terminals catch on or flop like the Network Computer remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, Compaq and Hewlett-Packard described major changes in their business models. Both will experiment with direct sales in an effort to reduce inventory costs; Compaq also announced its move into consulting and the importance of its newly acquired Alpha chip.

Of course, the show floor was teeming with products. Flat-panel monitors seemed to stand out the most.

New strategic directions
• HP, others try direct sales
• IBM may customize low-cost PCs
• Pfeiffer: Web sales, Alpha key
• Compaq investing in start-ups
• Compaq moves into consulting
• Customization coming, Intel exec says
• Samsung announces Alpha subsidiary
Xeon-based servers and workstations
• Xeon, terminals for PC Expo
• Undaunted Toshiba sells servers
• IBM debuts cheaper workstations
Windows-based Terminals
• PC makers target the dumb terminal
• Windows NT software ships
Other new products
• Flat panel screens steal show
• Sony continues portable push
• Compaq, HP add to lineups
• New Intel design to cut costs
• Notebooks to get new Zip drives
• Xerox takes on HP in printers