Oracle's e-mail, calendaring business grows

Oracle Corp. is enjoying steady growth of its e-mail and calendaring software sales at a time when industry analysts say those communication tools are becoming collaboration tools.

Oracle Corp. more than quadrupled its e-mail and calendaring software business over the past few years, though analysts say it remains a relatively small piece of the company's total revenue.

E-mail itself is moving from being a basic communication tool to much more of an enterprise messaging backbone.
Tom Eid
principal analystGartner's Knowledge Workplace Group

Gartner, Inc. recently collected data regarding new e-mail calendaring software licenses issued during the last four years. The company reports that the market grew by 6.9% in 2003 when compared to the previous year, and predicts the market will show a steady annual growth rate of 5.9% through 2008.

Oracle, which introduced its Collaboration Suite in 2001, grew its new license revenue from $1 million in that year to $5.5 million in 2003, according to Tom Eid, principal analyst of Gartner's Knowledge Workplace group in Lowell, Mass.

"(Oracle is) getting a little bit of traction, but primarily within their installed base," Eid said. "The percentage may be large but the actual revenue is relatively small."

Microsoft Exchange Server and IBM's Lotus Notes remain the dominant players in the e-mail and calendaring world with a combined 90% of the total market. But Eid says people can expect companies such as Novell Inc., Critical Path Software Inc., Sendmail Inc. and Gordano Limited to continue making strides.

Gartner also predicts that Microsoft will face new challenges marketing Exchange going forward, largely because of the rise of Linux in Europe, Asia-Pacific, Japan and Latin America.

Gartner expects that the malicious use of e-mail for sending spam and viruses will continue to increase, prompting companies to spend more on e-mail security software and encouraging the adoption of e-mail effectiveness standards.

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Eid said the traditional use of e-mail as a "one size fits all" form of communication will give way to something more in tune with the needs of individual workers and companies.

"E-mail itself is moving from being a basic communication tool to much more of an enterprise messaging backbone," he explained. "It (will) then become part of a broader collaboration capability that is going to be linked and integrated with other applications."

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