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NCI to Offer Star Division's Software in Desktop Units

September 30, 1997|From Reuters

PALO ALTO — Network Computer Inc., an Oracle Corp. unit that makes ultra-cheap desktop computers, said Monday it has agreed to bundle office applications from a German software vendor with its machines.

Starting in November, NCI will offer Star Division's package of word processing, spreadsheet and presentation graphics software with its network computers--the slimmed-down machines that get their computing power from a corporate or public computer network.

Oracle, a publisher of database software, has been one of the big cheerleaders for network computers, or NCs. Because they are less complex to operate than personal computers, NCs would help companies and schools slash the cost of buying and maintaining computers, Oracle has said.

The office software from Star Division, based in Hamburg, Germany, would make NCs more attractive to technology purchasers of big companies, NCI executives said.

The companies said Star Division's StarOffice software suite can open and edit files created with Word and Excel, Microsoft Corp.'s best-selling business software products.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The companies also did not disclose pricing information.

Closely held Star Division is the second-biggest supplier of business software in Germany, according to market researcher International Data Corp. Star Division said it shipped 1 million copies of its products in Europe in 1996.

The company's word processing and spreadsheet products have traditionally run on personal computers, but with the rise of the Internet in 1995, the company modified its products for networks, said Marco Boerries, Star Division chief executive.

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