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Oracle looks to Europe with E-Business Suite

Next week, Oracle is to announce a version of its E-Business Suite of enterprise applications for mid-sized European companies, rivaling Microsoft's Business Solutions unit, IBM and SAP.

The mid-market offering will not merely be a slimmed-down version of Oracle 11i, the E-Business Suite for large enterprises, Fiona Campbell-Howes, an Oracle EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) spokeswoman said.

Oracle's E-Business Suite is an integrated suite of enterprise applications that allows companies to manage business processes, such as financials, payroll and customer relationship management.

Oracle executives have previously mentioned the company's plans to launch mid-market products. The vendor has said that it plans to launch region-specific offerings around the world, with China being one of the first markets it will target.

Oracle's definition of midmarket varies from region to region, but the company generally considers the term to cover businesses with less than $1bn (£643m) in annual revenue.

In a tough economic climate where enterprises continue to reduce IT spending, the midmarket, once the domain of smaller software companies, has become the promised land for vendors that traditionally target only large companies.

Big-name players such as Microsoft, Oracle, PeopleSoft and SAP are all revving enterprise software applications to meet midmarket demand for integrated front and back-office systems, quickly crowding the ERP mid-market.

Overall sales of IT products to small and medium-sized businesses will grow 4% next year, eclipsing growth in sales to larger customers.

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