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Oracle opens software shop for NC

Oracle is spinning off a software company to produce applications for its Network Computer.

Oracle won't be manufacturing the Network Computers it is promoting but will set up a wholly owned subsidiary to produce software for the Internet device.

Dubbed Network Computer Incorporated, the firm will collaborate with other companies, including Sun Microsystems, to establish software standards for the new machines. The report says the software company's first products will be spreadsheets, word processors, and programs to link the NC to the server. A summer release is planned for the software in anticipation of the NC's market debut in the fall.

The stripped-down NCs are designed to get the bulk of their power from network servers rather than from internal components and will cost around $500. The goal is to lure consumers for whom the cost of a fully loaded PC is prohibitive.

At a press conference today, Oracle will introduce the NC and announce plans for its support, backed up by Sun, IBM, Apple Computer, and other companies.

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