Oracle, HP in Bluestone Deal?

Larry Ellison says Oracle is discussing the purchase of HP's middleware business.

Oracle Corp. reportedly has been talking with Hewlett-Packard Co. about buying its middleware business.

Oracle Chairman and CEO Larry Ellison, following a keynote speech at Oracle OpenWorld in Copenhagen, Denmark, said the company is discussing the purchase with HP, reported Reuters.

Speculation has spread in recent weeks that the software maker is considering buying HPs Bluestone software business. HP officials had hinted at plans to sell the business, which it had acquired in 2000.

The centerpiece of the Bluestone middleware software line is a Web services platform. It provides an architecture and tools for building and deploying Web services, and for publishing and finding services in third-party registeries. Its components include a SOAP server, XML document framework, XML digital signature security pack and graphical tools for composing Web services and a services registery.

HPs Bluestone line also includes packages of software and servies solutions for business process integration, rich media services and mobile portals.

Calls to HP, of Palo Alto, Calif., for comment werent returned late Wednesday. Oracle officials, in Redwood Shores, Calif., declined to comment.

Ellison, as quoted in Reuters, said that the HP unit would be a small acquisition and also cautioned people not to draw conclusions from the talks since Oracle has discussions with HP about many areas.