Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Computer World Has Its Own `Oscar' Winners

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Computer World Has Its Own `Oscar' Winners

Article excerpt

The Academy Awards tonight remind me that this is the contest season. Yes, it's the time of year when people in just about every business hand out awards, usually to people in their own line of business.

The computer business has its own batch of awards, generally unknown outside the industry. In keeping with the contest-season spirit:

Best Performance, Dual Role: America Online's Steve Case, who just hates monopolistic companies unless he can get a piece of the action. The two-faced Case and Co. railed against Microsoft last year when it seemed as though the Microsoft Network - the only on-line service to get front-and-center play on Windows 95 - would be a threat to AOL. Then the Microsoft Network proved to be a flop relative to the wilder expectations. So now, after cutting a deal with Microsoft, AOL will be coming to a Windows 95 screen near you.

"Where's the Beef?" Award: Larry Ellison and the Oracle public relations team, for the "Network Computer." They talked and talked and talked about it. Finally, several weeks ago, they held a sneak preview and touted its relative simplicity and ease-of-use. Then they refused to allow a Mercury News reporter to touch it.

Best Special Effects: Syncronys Softcorp, for its best-selling SoftRAM 95. SoftRAM would supposedly double a computer's random-access memory without forcing users to buy more RAM. It didn't work at all on Windows 95, as Syncronys admitted. Reputable experts said it didn't work as advertised on Windows 3.1, either, despite the company's insistence to the contrary. The program did display a cute gauge on the computer screen, though.

Best Performance, (increasingly) Minor Role: The IBM PC Co., for its continuing abuse of IBM's own OS/2 Warp operating system. The PC Co. has always disdained OS/2, and wouldn't even put Warp on its consumer-oriented Aptiva line until long, long after Warp was released. Then, when it did pre-install Warp on a couple of Aptiva models, it configured the operating system so poorly that fast Pentium machines ran as if they were 286s. …

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