NEW YORK — Major computer companies plan today to roll out new pared-down business machines that cost as little as $1,000 and are cheaper to maintain than traditional desktops.
The machines run on Intel Corp. chips and Microsoft Corp. operating software, like most traditional personal computers. But they are less expensive than PCs because they will download software from a central mainframe machine--instead of requiring each PC's hard drive to be periodically updated with new software.
The computers are pitched as saving thousands of dollars in annual maintenance costs for each desktop. Other savings would result from the ability to remotely make repairs and trouble shoot problems.
Computer makers backing the Intel-Microsoft effort planned today to demonstrate their so-called Net PCs and start selling them this summer at prices of up to about $3,000. Although an Intel spokesman declined to name the manufacturers ahead of a Manhattan event, three of the largest makers of PCs--Compaq, Dell and Hewlett-Packard--have helped lead Intel's drive.
Intel and Microsoft are pushing the machines in an attempt to upstage Sun Microsystems Inc., which is promoting far more bare-bones computers to cut corporate computing costs.