Oracle Bets $150M on Unbreakable Linux

Oracle plans to spend some $150 million this year on a new initiative to increase the number of apps available to customers on the Unbreakable Linux platform.

Oracle Corp. plans to spend some $150 million this year on a new initiative designed to greatly increase the number of applications available to customers on the Unbreakable Linux platform.

This latest initiative follows the announcement last June of the Unbreakable Linux campaign, in which the Redwood Shores, Calif., company committed to deliver an enterprise operating environment by providing all of its products on Linux and giving full front-line technical support.

Oracle on Wednesday will announce the new initiative, aimed at Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), which will see Oracle provide technical and financial incentives for the development, marketing and sale of ISV applications on Unbreakable Linux.

The incentives, which Oracle plans to continue well into the future, include an online marketing "campaign developer" that will allow ISVs to create print advertising and e-mail campaigns that they can run using the Unbreakable Linux brand name.

ISV solutions created through this initiative will have the designation "Powered By Oracle Unbreakable Linux."

"Oracle will provide $2 for every $1 the Linux ISV contributes toward that marketing campaign. We will also be providing marketing training and other marketing services to the ISVs. We will also pass the leads from those customers responding to the campaign directly onto the ISV," Robert Shimp, an Oracle vice president, told eWEEK in an interview Tuesday.

For the first time in Oracles history, it will now also provide ISVs with direct access to its customer installed base to allow the ISVs to promote their products. ISVs will also now be allowed to advertise on Oracles Web site, he said.

The initial Unbreakable Linux campaign gave customers access to Oracles enterprise software and infrastructure on Linux with full technical support. "With this new announcement we are meeting the next major customer concern, which is to have a wide variety of enterprise-class applications available on Linux," Shimp said.

Oracle next week will hold an event in New York to bring the key strategic partners together and explain the program to them in detail. Oracle expects some 200 ISVs to attend, among them Vertex Inc., The Retec Group Inc. and F5 Networks Inc. More than 4,000 ISVs already use Oracle software on Linux, he said.

Oracle also has an extensive product roadmap for continuing to upgrade and improve the Linux environment. It is working closely with Red Hat Inc. on security issues, and doing evaluations for common criteria and a lot of work on the Linux kernel side, Shimp said.

Oracle currently has some 1,000 developers working on Linux technologies, including a core group of architects working directly on the Linux kernel source code. Oracle is not concerned about offering proprietary solutions alongside Linux, as enterprises want to choose from a mix of these, Shimp said.

Unbreakable Linux also provides price benefits to customers by eliminating the Microsoft operating system "tax" and offering greater security and reliability than Microsofts Windows, he added.

Shimp also cited statistics from several research firms that he claims support Oracles experience of good demand for its products on Linux. For example, the International Data Corp. has said Linux is the fastest growing platform and is projected to grow into a $5.9 billion market by 2006.

A survey of CIOs by Goldman Sachs in a November 2002 IT Spending Survey showed that 39 percent of IT departments had already deployed Linux solutions, he said, while an Evans Data Survey published in October 2002 also showed that 59 percent of developers expected to write Linux applications in the next year.

Earlier this month IDC market numbers showed that Oracles grip on the database market held strong in 2002, but it also said the gap between Oracle and IBM was narrowing and that Microsoft was showing the strongest growth in the $13 billion market for relational database management systems.

Last month Oracle also said it would seek a federal stamp of approval for its applications running on Linux.

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