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3Com CEO: Keep it simple, cheap

3Com's chief Eric Benhamou opens this year's Networld+Interop trade show with a call to keep things cheap to buy and simple to use.

    LAS VEGAS--3Com's chief Eric Benhamou opened this year's Networld+Interop trade show with a call to keep things cheap to buy and simple to use.

    The chairman, president, and chief executive of the second-largest data networking firm in the industry touted simplicity as well as the ongoing convergence of data, voice, and video across networks while maintaining that this environment does not necessarily have to lead to industry "uniformity."

    Benhamou told the packed hall that the widespread use of networking technology must be accompanied by a focus on simple ways to connect to those layouts, noting his own company's PalmPilot personal digital assistant.

    "The new cry must be simpler, more intuitive, and more inexpensive to own," he said.

    Touting themes he also expressed last month, Benhamou said the convergence of voice, video, and data traffic across network layouts has widespread ramifications, marking the "next major milestone for our industry."

    But Benhamou also noted that the buzz surrounding convergence does not necessarily have to mean a rallying cry for networks based on IP, Intel microchips, and Windows NT operating system software from Microsoft.

    "Those who believe in this distinct scenario are mistaken," Benhamou told the crowd. "One size does not fit all."

    Expanding on his comments during a question and answer session following his address, Benhamou said, "I think there is an incredible amount of room for specific purpose devices." In turn, these devices will take advantage of specialized applications, he said.

    The conference continues tomorrow with a keynote from Jim Allchin, senior vice president for Microsoft's business systems division.