12 November 2002 Database company Oracle is set to intensify its fight with Microsoft on the software giant’s home turf, the personal productivity software sector.
Oracle is this week promoting a new version of its ‘Collaboration Suite’ set of server and application products at its user conference in San Francisco, California.
The new suite includes email, voicemail, calendaring and web browsing and is being touted as a cheaper and more secure alternative to Exchange, Microsoft’s hugely successful email server. Oracle’s consulting arm is providing a ‘low-cost’ migration service for businesses reluctant to upgrade from Microsoft Exchange 5.5 to Exchange 2000.
But Microsoft hit back, saying in a statement that Oracle was making “apples to oranges comparisons” over the relative costs of running the two packages. Microsoft said that over a three-year period Exchange was “approximately the same cost” as Oracle’s Collaboration Suite, depending on the licensing plan and could even cost less.
The move has surprised many analysts, who say that Oracle will face an uphill struggle persuading Microsoft users to move. Far more likely, they argue, is that Oracle will sell parts of the new suite to its existing base of 200,000 database customers. So far, just 50 of those are testing the product.
Oracle executives hope to capitalize on perceived customer disenchantment over Microsoft’s controversial new software licensing policy, which analysts say will raise the cost of running Microsoft desktop and server software.
A second version of Oracle’s Collaboration Suite, the original of which began shipping in September 2002, will become available by mid-2003. It will include instant messaging, online whiteboard and other online applications supporting teamwork.