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Microsoft Corp. was once an avowed opponent of network computing, thin clients or anything else that threatened to harm Windows’ hegemony by putting the PC on a crash diet. Over the years, the company outlasted a number of vaunted opponents in that debate; for instance, the Oracle Corp./Sun Microsystems Inc.-sponsored, Java-based New Internet Computer flopped earlier this decade.

Recently, Microsoft, no longer feeling threatened, has been quietly making an about-face. With its increasingly popular Terminal Services software, which lets users access applications running on corporate servers; its d



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