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Oracle touts low-cost app server

Oracle Corp. is launching a low-cost alternative to its Application Server Standard Edition, slashing its price to target small and medium-sized businesses.

Oracle Corp. launched Oracle Application Server Standard Edition One, scaling down the price to target small and midsized businesses.

Oracle launched Standard Edition One at its OpenWorld conference, which began Monday in London. The application server can be used for corporate portals, J2EE-based Internet applications and Web sites -- for as little as $745 in license fees.

What Oracle is doing is realizing that they're late into the game and making a major push to go after BEA and IBM.
Philip Fersht,
director of the business applications and commerce groupYankee Group

The company is offering essentially the same product as its Standard Edition server but with limited user and processor use.

The application server includes a middleware platform, which contains Oracle's Web server and portal technology. Oracle is also rolling out several portal applications for its application server and simplified installation and administration tools for midmarket customers, said Rob Cheng, product marketing director for Oracle application server tools.

"We have a lot of smaller customers that are very interested in using Oracle's core technologies, but because of cost and partially complexity issues, they're not doing so today," Cheng said. "In response, we're selling the same product and code base as our Standard Edition at a 50% discount for smaller customers."

Businesses can purchase a Standard Edition One for $4,995 with up to two processors. Or, they can license use of Standard Edition One for $149 per user with a minimum of five users.

The portal software being rolled out with Standard Edition One combines basic content management and publishing capabilities with editing and administration tools. The portals area a set of templates that provide a predefined layout for minor business content pages such as sales and marketing, Cheng said.


Oracle cuts database prices.

Small and midsized companies are prepared to spend.

Oracle is making a broad push to bring in new application server customers, Cheng said. The number of employees dedicated to selling its application server line will double this year to about 420 people, he added.

Oracle took a similar price cutting move in October, when it slashed the price of its 10g Standard Edition One DBMS to $4,995 per processor for up to two processors. The move was made to compete head on with Microsoft for small and medium-sized businesses.

Oracle has increased its application server market share against competitors that include BEA Systems Inc., IBM and Microsoft, said Philip Fersht, director of the business applications and commerce group at Boston-based Yankee Group. Oracle may be popular among midsized companies seeking to reduce complexity with an all encompassing business applications package, Fersht said.

"What Oracle is doing is realizing that they're late into the game and making a major push to go after BEA and IBM," he added. "I think Oracle has the potential to be one of the best middleware models."

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