Colin Nayler from Altos Computer Systems explained the Altos 586
philosophy in a Byte Magazine article of June 1983:
The 586 was designed to offer a multiuser system with the Xenix operating system and support for a variety of local-area networking (LAN) and communications protocols.
In using the Xenix O.S., a joint development of Altos and Microsoft based on Bell Laboratories' Unix System III, the 586 is one of the first desktop microcomputers to offer the sophisticated facilities of Unix software. The 586 runs Xenix as well as the MP/M-86, MD-DOS, Oasis-16 and Pick in a stand-alone configuration. Although, the 586 can also be configured for single user who require large storage capacity or Unix software capabilities.
The 586 is one of the first systems to offer Ethernet capabilities on a chip for users who need a more expansive higher-performance LAN or who seek to implement an industry standard to link machines from several vendors.
Altos expects this protocol to become the de facto standard for local-area networks because of Ethernet's high performances, availability, low cost, and acceptance by a rapidly growing list of vendors.