If demand for network computers grows, Hewlett-Packard would be able to enter the marketplace fairly easily according to the company's CEO, Lew Platt.
However, he said that for now HP is better off concentrating its energies on NC rival the NetPC, proposed by Microsoft.
During a recent visit to the shaky isles, Platt said that technically it would be easy for HP to enter the NC market. "But we've chosen instead to stay with the NetPC and emphasise full PC compatibility, which you don't get with the NC. We would also like to emphasise some local processing capabilities, which you also don't get with the NC, and drive down the cost of the NetPC so that it really puts a lot of competitive pressure on the NC," he said.
Platt said HP has just introduced a product in the US which sells for under $US1000. "An NC is about $US500, but by the time you add some things to the NC, which most people do, you get up to the same price range," he said.
HP can change its strategy if it proves to be wrong, Platt said. He added that the important thing is to emphasise the total cost of ownership (TCO). "Support costs over the lifetime of a PC totally swamp what you pay for it," he said.
Platt explained that HP's alliance with Microsoft, which began in April this year, was directed at solving the cost of ownership issue.