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If the IT industry had an award for the most promising technology that failed to make its mark, the thin client would be a major contestant. Heralded in the 1990s as an alternative to the PC, the thin client or "network PC" promised lower maintenance cost, higher productivity, and improved security. But the market had other ideas. The thin client remained a niche market, and the PC still rules the desktop. Some industry insiders predict the thin-client model will have a major impact in emerging markets. TCs can offer substantial benefits, especially in environments where computing tasks are clearly defined and require little local processing. Thin clients enable a host of applications that are not practical with a PC.