A very timely reality check from Wired – read the full article
Immediately after the Windows 95 launch, Ellison called one of his lieutenants, Farzad Dibachi, to his mansion in Atherton, California. For years, Dibachi — who was responsible for brainstorming new business strategies — had urged Ellison to think more broadly about his company’s potential. Now, the two discussed a vision for Oracle that would neutralize Microsoft’s main advantage: the dominance of its operating system. They imagined a simple machine that would eschew software installed on a hard drive in favor of accessing applications online. Data — videos, documents, pictures — would be stored in Oracle databases instead of on the computer itself. In place of a robust operating system, this machine would work with programs and files through browsers like Netscape Navigator. Ellison liked the idea, and he and Dibachi started working on a speech so the CEO could share it with the world. The device would be called the network computer.
An interesting comment from David Roux:
“Ellison is often time-dyslexic — right about the fundamental trend but wrong on timing, ” says David Roux, a partner at private equity firm Silver Lake and a former Oracle executive vice president. “It’s hard to look at a $299 netbook and not see the NC vision come to life.”