RealTime IT News

Oracle Joins Microsoft's Visual Studio

In a move considered by some to be an easing of tensions between rivals, Oracle has joined Microsoft's Visual Studio Industry Partner (VSIP) program as a premier-level partner.

"Microsoft is pleased to announce our partnership with Oracle," said Eric Rudder, senior vice president of Servers and Tools at Microsoft in a statement issued Thursday. "The integration of Oracle's products with Visual Studio .NET 2003 will provide our mutual customers with a more productive developer environment for building Oracle applications on the Microsoft Windows platform."

In its announcement, Microsoft hailed the partnership as an initiative that will increase productivity, ease deployment and provide tighter integration between Oracle Database and Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003.

A spokesperson with Oracle told internetnews.com the partnership came about in response to customer needs.

"Oracle recognizes that a large portion of Oracle developers use Visual Studio," the Oracle spokesperson told internetnews.com. "Now, they will have the option of using Visual Studio to develop and deploy Oracle-based applications."

Joining VSIP at the Premier level also means that Oracle can integrate their tools very tightly into Visual Studio .NET. Microsoft said Oracle's participation also acknowledges that a lot of developers targeting Oracle are using Visual Studio as their developer tool.

"The primary benefit is the access to the VSIP software development kit (SDK), which enables Oracle to build applications that integrate with Visual Studio, thus giving their customers the power of the Visual Studio IDE," Nick Abbott, Group Manager for Microsoft Visual Studio Industry Partner program, told internetnews.com.

JupiterResearch Analyst Joe Wilcox sees the partnership as a win-win scenario for both companies. (JupiterResearch shares the same parent company as this publication.)

"Microsoft can trumpet Oracle as a major Windows developer backing Visual Studio .NET," Wilcox said. "Considering the new 'Whidbey' release is delayed, Oracle offers credibility that the current tool set remains vital, rather than outdated."

According to Wilcox, Oracle's intentions are also made clear by this announcement. "Oracle sends a message to its customers that its products have a future on Windows," Wilcox said. "Microsoft will increase feature integration with next-generation developer tools, database and desktop operating system. The amount of integration raises questions about the impact on non-Microsoft databases, considering the new data store file system coming in SQL Server 2005 and Windows Longhorn."

"For customers, the partnership sends a message about interoperability, which ranks as IT decision makers' top priority when developing in-house applications," he said.

Microsoft's attempt at making it easier for Oracle user to use .NET is not a particularly new initiative. Microsoft in one way or another has been courting developers to integrate .NET applications with Oracle databases for a few years at this point. In 2002, Microsoft unveiled its .NET Framework Data Provider for Oracle that allowed Microsoft's technology to access Oracle databases.

The Visual Studio Industry Partner (VSIP) Program is thriving according to Microsoft, with more than 13,000 downloads of the VSIP software development kit.

As for Microsoft's plans for the VSIP Program in the next 3 to 6 months, Abbott said he expects to attract new partners, particularly ones that target the next generation Microsoft tools.

"We currently have more than 200 partners shipping more than 400 products," Abbott said. "I expect to continue to see those numbers grow over the next year. The developer tools partner ecosystem is one that is very important to Microsoft and we rely on our partners to fill our developer tools story."

All of this activity comes as Microsoft continues to titillate the developer community about the next Visual Studio release, Whidbey now expected to be out in 2005.