Defying predictions that thin clients will be relegated to niche applications, IBM said yesterday it had recently sold thousands of network computers to American General Finance and Sysco Corp.
American General Finance replaced "dumb" terminals at more than 1,300 consumer loan branches with 8,000 IBM thin clients. The consumer lending and credit-related insurance company, a $9 billion subsidiary of American General Corp., said it's using the thin clients to introduce Web applications, E-mail, and productivity tools more cost- effectively than it could using PCs.
Sysco Corp., a $15 billion food-service marketer and distributor, said it will install several thousand thin clients in more than 60 distribution centers--one source pegs the number of devices at close to 8,000. The devices will let Sysco users access information stored on the company's IBM AS/400 and IBM RS/6000 servers. They will replace disparate types of terminals, and offer users a standard interface, among other features.
IBM says in 1998 it sold its thin clients, called Network Stations, to Allied Signal, Bally's Hotel & Casino, British Aerospace, Guardian Insurance, Loews Hotels, Mazda, Nike, and Volkswagen , among other large and midsize companies. Prices for IBM Network Stations start at $499.