Oracle takes aim at .Net with Web offering

The spokesperson for the Oracle Applications User Group (OAUG) Australia is taking a wait and see approach to Oracle's latest offering which is targeted at Microsoft's .Net initiative.

"Oracle is very good at vision. But the trouble with looking into a crystal ball is that it is easy to stray from your goals. I won't dismiss Oracle's new offerings out of hand, but I am interested in actually seeing what it is offering," said Jeannie Dobney, director for OAUG Australia.

Central to Oracle's announcements, which take aim at Microsoft's .Net initiative, was Oracle 9i Dynamic Services, a framework that builds on Oracle's 9i database products and lets companies create Web pages with a variety of content.

Oracle also announced Portal.Oracle.com, an online destination where businesses will be able to build and configure their Web sites - or "business portals" - using Oracle's software. Oracle will also offer to host those Web sites on its own servers, officials said.

"Our goal is very simply to become the desktop for e-businesses," Larry Ellison, Oracle's chairman and chief executive officer, said.

Oracle officials went to great pains to contrast their announcement with Microsoft's .Net initiative. Microsoft has said it will roll out .Net products gradually in the coming years.

".Net is all about delivering a bunch of products in about two years time in order to allow people to go and build services," said Mark Jarvis, an Oracle senior vice president. "That's not what this is about at all. This is about delivering a bunch of services now in order to deliver services - .Now."

A Microsoft spokesman countered that Oracle's efforts are merely an endorsement of similar initiatives already under way in the industry.

Hosting a Web site at Portal.Oracle.com will be free for the first three months, Oracle officials said.

After that, businesses will be required to pay $US100 per gigabyte per month, regardless of how many users access the site. Oracle plans to make money from the effort by charging for some of the services that it offers at the Web site.

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