OracleWorld: Oracle boosts Collaboration Suite

Faced with sagging revenues and profits, Oracle is looking to reposition itself as a one-stop shop that can offer not only...

Faced with sagging revenues and profits, Oracle is looking to reposition itself as a one-stop shop that can offer not only databases but also middleware, management software and other applications to enable companies to simplify their enterprise infrastructure and slash costs and manpower.

At its Oracle OpenWorld database user conference yesterday, executives pitched users on total cost of ownership, the benefits of running the database on the relatively low-cost Linux platform and enhancements to the recently introduced Collaboration Suite, which consolidates e-mail, voice mail and fax capabilities into one application. The company also announced Version 4.0 of its Enterprise Manager product.

Executives remained upbeat about the company's finances. Oracle chief financial officer Jeff Henley acknowledged there had been a reduction in the Oracle workforce by about 5%, but he said the company had avoided cuts in the sales force and was not planning any further layoffs.

While Henley said he was unsure how many users had upgraded to Version 9i of the company's database, the software has been out for 16 months and he said he expected most users to make the jump by the end of the financial year.

Chief marketing officer, Mark Jarvis, said that Oracle was continuing to gain in market share against IBM and that Linux was a strong growth area. Two years ago, users downloaded 2,000 copies of the database per month; last month that figure had jumped to 55,000.

Oracle also announced release 2 of its Collaboration Suite, which has real-time communication, instant messaging, co-browsing and online meeting capabilities. The suite is scheduled for release in the first half of 2003 and will cost $60 (£37.80) for a perpetual licence per Named User Plus. The Collaboration Suite was originally unveiled in July.

Jarvis said the suite was positioned as a lower-cost alternative to Microsoft's Exchange product and added that as of next month, Exchange customers would be pushed to upgrade from Exchange 5.5 to Exchange 2000.

"We tell them we can upgrade them for a quarter of the cost [of Exchange], and that's compelling," he said. Oracle claimed that migrating from Exchange 5.5 to Exchange 2000 costs $100 per mailbox for companies with more than 1,000 seats, while migrating to the Collaboration Suite can be as low as $29 per seat.

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