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Oracle Opens Shop For 'Virtual PBX'

Oracle  today said it has completed work on Virtual PBX, one of the core communications applications of the company's Service Delivery Platform (Oracle SDP).

The Oracle SDP is a middleware platform for delivering network services for telecommunications operators and service providers. SDP supports SIP , SIP servlets and Parlay/Parlay X.

Tailored for any size business, Virtual PBX is a business phone system that provides voicemail, fax-mail and queues and attendant tools to handle incoming calls without major changes to existing network architecture.

This ability to adapt on the fly with little manual intervention and need for reconfigurations, born from the software's adherence to several industry standards, helps enterprises keep costs down.

The Oracle Virtual PBX is generally available today, with pricing based on subscriber numbers.

Oracle announced its SDP plan last April, with company President Chuck Phillips noting on a conference call that SDP arrives at a time when the telco industry is under a lot of competitive pressure.

He said networks are converging around IP networks so that wireless and wireline are converging from the same companies so "everybody's getting into everybody else's business."

"Customer retention is an issue," Phillips said at the time. "It's become easier for the consumer to switch services. The premium pricing telcos used to enjoy on the voice side is going away. They have to introduce new services, and to do that you have to be able to provision quickly."

The idea of the SDP, then, is to cut the time and cost to set up new voice data and integrated multimedia services on current and future IP networks, Phillips said.

While fellow bellwether Dell  is suffering financial losses and giant HP  is weathering bad publicity for corporate espionage, Oracle is basking in the glow of its first quarter financials.

The company destroyed analyst estimates, reaping $3.7 billion in sales on 18 cents per share; the consensus was for $3.5 billion on 16 cents a share.

Analysts chalked up the solid financials to the rationalization of the company's rash of acquisitions in the last three years, and the positioning of its database, middleware and applications under the service-oriented architecture  banner.

Meanwhile, Phillips returns to New York Wednesday to discuss the evolution of the company's security software strategy with press and analysts.