Where are they now? Ellison

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Larry Ellison's year-old New Internet Computer Co. announced Wednesday that it has begun shipping Version 2.0 of the operating system for its $199 New Internet Computer (NIC).

NIC OS 2.0 offers greater functionality for the company's Internet appliance and is available as a free upgrade on compact disc to current NIC users, the company said in a statement.

NIC OS Version 2.0 includes: graphical boot up, Netscape Communication Corp.'s 4.76 Web browser, upgraded plug-ins for the browser, Macromedia Inc. Flash 5.0, RealNetworks Inc.'s RealPlayer 8.0, easier setup for LANs (local area networks), DSL (digital subscriber line) and cable modems, instant messaging and additional games.

The New Internet Computer Co. was incorporated in January 2000 and began selling its New Internet Computer in July 2000. The company has not released any sales figures for its Internet appliance, said Michael Salort, a company spokesman. But he added that business has exceeded internal expectations.

"We have sold many, many more (computers) than we thought we would sell without any marketing," he said, without providing specific figures. Sales are also higher than the company anticipated for 2001, despite the turbulent economic conditions, Salort said.

Ellison, Oracle Corp.'s chairman and chief executive officer, has been a champion of low-cost networked computers. In 1995, Ellison talked about the concept of a "network computer," which was a computer that connected to server but lacked a hard drive and would be a low-cost alternative to regular PCs. However, the network-computer concept has been slow to catch on.

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