One of the ideas we had recently was to think of what we are doing as creating an Operating System on the Thick Server. This gives us a framework to think from a marketing standpoint also — we need to look at what Microsoft did in the mid-1980s! There aren’t too many OS companies to study, though.
What we need to look at is doing what we do best: integrating (assimilating) software. On the Thick Server, we have to put together a unique package of applications together for the SME. We’ve already been doing that in Messaging (built on top of a stripped down version of Red Hat) as part of our MailServ product.
The MailServ product has support for Messaging, Instant Messaging, Proxy, Firewall, Anti-Virus and LDAP. On top of that now get added functionalities like a File Server, Print Server, Terminal Server (to support the Thin Clients), Web Server, Desktop Apps, etc. This together becomes the Thick Server OS. The challenge lies in integrating them all together to weak seamlessely.
The proposition to end users can become very compelling: Thin Clients can bring down the Client Machine cost by 60-70% (assuming the Thin Clients cost about USD 150). This is cheaper even then what Walmart’s Lindows-based PC (which is USD 299 in the US excluding monitor). The software costs can come down 80-90% (no need for MS Windows and MS Office). This is what can dramatically increase PC penetration in emerging markets.