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Thin Clients Getting Fat

A recent report by IDC states that the company expects shipment of thin clients to reach almost 1.3 million by the end of 2000. IDC estimates much of the 2000 expansion will result from the integration of Terminal Server into Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 2000 operating system.

Director of IDC's Enterprise Thin Clients research program, Eileen O'Brien, says the thin client market is experiencing powerful growth, and Microsoft (www.microsoft.com) Terminal Server is expected to play a large role in the market expansion. "Terminal Server becoming an integrated part of Windows 2000 is a definitive renewal by Microsoft of the company's commitment to the thin client approach to computing," O'Brien says. The 80 percent growth IDC (www.idc.com) anticipates for the end of this year follows a 90 percent growth rate in 1999.

The integration of Terminal Services with Windows 2000 is likely to cause an expansion of the thin client market for several reasons. Terminal Services offers users a reliable way to distribute Windows-based applications to thin clients via a thin client architecture or through a server-based computing approach. Currently there are three main vendors that dominate the 70 percent of the market - Wyse Technology Inc. (www.wyse.com), IBM Corp. (www.ibm.com), and Network Computing Devices Inc. (NCD, www.ncd.com). Previously, customers had to look to third-party vendors, but now thin client computing services will be a part of Windows 2000.

While Windows-based terminal-like devices accounted for more than 70 percent of shipments in 1999, IDC expects to see increased competition from Linux-based thin clients. Despite the late 1999 and early 2000 arrival of many Linux thin clients, research indicates that the Linux-based client presence is strong and growing. With companies such as IBM, Netier Technologies Inc. (www.netier.com), and Compaq Computer Corp. (www.compaq.com) all offering Linux thin clients, their presence is expected to be more visible by year's end. - Alicia Costanza

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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