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New IM Product Rolling Out of Oracle - InternetNews.
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New IM Product Rolling Out of Oracle

BOSTON -- Oracle , best known for its database and business applications products and a certain rival software company that it wants to buy, is planning to roll out new instant messaging tools this year.

Oracle vice president Ramu Sunkara said the products, which will be sold as part of the Oracle Collaboration Suite, are in beta-testing mode right now and would follow the release of its Web Conferencing product. Introduced last fall, the conferencing software competes with similar collaboration tools and products from Microsoft and WebEx .

"We have a totally different perspective," Oracle vice president Ramu Sunkara said at the Instant Messaging Planet Conference & Expo today. "What we do must help enterprises do one of two things: increase sales or decrease costs."

The offerings will be built on the XMPP (for Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol) , which competes with the widely-used SIMPLE protocol (Session Initiation Protocol for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions) . But Sunkara said Oracle could build an adapter for compatibility with the SIP-SIMPLE protocol too.

He also said the new messaging offerings will be designed to work on a variety of devices (desktops, laptops, personal digital assistants and Web-enabled phones) and operating systems (Windows, Linux and Macintosh).

By virtue of its enterprise customer base, Oracle should have an opportunity to pitch some large clients for its Collaboration Suite. But it won't be alone in vying for customers' attention. And its own try at enterprise level IM offerings is sure to catch the eye of its rivals.

Earlier today, Paul Haverstock, an architect in Microsoft's real-time collaboration unit, said the company is working to make IM more useful by enhancing graphics and working on portability across devices.

At the same time, enterprise customers are beginning to realize the business value of deploying forms of presence (which indicates when a user is online) and collaboration features that IM brings, only with more security. The new offerings from Oracle come at a time when new federal regulations for trading and financial services firms mandate the capture of IM logs along with other forms of written and electronic communication, as enterprise networks ponder deploying or migrating to enterprise-grade IM platforms.

"Oracle has been successful by being agnostic to the clients and the platforms," Sunkara said at the conference here.

The IM Planet Conference is produced by Jupitermedia, the parent company of this Web site.