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Oracle, IBM Developers Buddy Up Over Unix

It's cooperative competition, baby.

Oracle said today that it has become a founding partner of the just-launched IBM AIX Collaboration Center (IACC), a facility where IBM engineers can help software vendors write new applications and middleware for the AIX operating system and 64-bit Power systems.

In this role, Oracle and IBM developers will work together to better integrate Oracle applications with the current and pending versions of AIX 5L, IBM's latest Unix operating system. Oracle will continue to deliver its applications on AIX concurrent with their availability on other platforms.

The companies believe that by having their programmers work together, customers will be better served to explore the virtualization, security and cross-platform portability of Oracle applications and IBM's operating system.

"Our applications provide customers with the tools they need to manage the information that runs their businesses," said Charles Phillips, president of Oracle. "IBM has become the leader in the Unix marketplace and our partnership with the company will allow Oracle to take advantage of the momentum they have generated over the last few years."

Though Oracle and IBM compete fiercely in the database software space, the synergies of this Unix-centric deal are clear.

The two companies have been cozier of late as Oracle looks to lean on Unix more. IBM has grown its Unix market share to be the leader in systems sold, even if Sun makes more money from Unix machines, according to IDC reports.

With software powers like Oracle in its pocket, IBM can extend its lead even more over Sun and serve as an attractive alternative to Microsoft's Windows system in certain environments. And anything that helps take money out of Microsoft's coffers is good for IBM and Oracle.

However, IBM shouldn't expect exclusivity. Oracle has as tight a relationship with Sun Microsystems when it comes to software.

Oracle last month picked Sun's open Solaris 10 operating system as its development and runtime platform of choice. Oracle's development group uses Solaris 10 and the company plans to ship 64-bit versions of all of its products on the Solaris OS.