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Posted Apr 14, 2005

Oracle Reaches Out to The Middle

By Michael Singer

Oracle is enlisting third-party partners to help it sell software to the coveted mid-market enterprise sector, the company said Wednesday.

The Redwood Shores, Calif.-based software vendor launched an initiative called OPN (Oracle PartnerNetwork) Access. The goal is to get organizations that are targeting small and medium size companies to soft sell Oracle's entry-level database and application software.

For an enrollment fee of $300, Oracle said participating organizations will have the ability to acquire products at standard reseller discounts through the value added distributor of their choice.

Potential offerings include a two-processor version of Oracle Database 10g Standard Edition One and Oracle Application Server 10g Standard Edition One.

In addition, the partners will get online sales training and use of Oracle Financing that extends financing and leasing options to the end-users.

The incentive might be alluring to smaller organizations wishing to do business with Oracle but were too intimidated by the company's size to try. Oracle's PartnerNetwork boasts 15,000 members, such as Dell, EMC, Sun, IBM, AMD, Network Appliance, Red Hat and BMC Software.

"Third-party companies are seeing heavy demand from smaller companies who want top-quality database and middleware solutions at an affordable cost. OPN Access has been developed to help these companies service customers in this growing market sector," Bronwyn Hastings, vice president of global alliances and channels at Oracle, said in a statement.

Over the past six months, Oracle said it has launched several new partner products, including the Oracle E-Business Suite Special Edition in North America and Latin America to complement an earlier delivery of Oracle E-Business Suite Special Edition in Asia-Pacific and Europe-Middle East-Africa.

Oracle said it is also using the network in hopes of capturing market share away from rivals SAP , Microsoft and even IBM . The desire to expand in the mid-market enterprise sector was one of Oracle's main selling points for acquiring PeopleSoft, retail player Retek and Web services security provider Oblix.

The mid-market continues to be a battleground for all four companies, with IBM believing the sector has the potential to be a $370 billion market.

"Our partners are seeing heavy demand from smaller companies who want top-quality database and middleware solutions, but at a reasonable cost," Hastings said. "We developed OPN Access to help partners sell more products, faster, in a growing market sector.

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