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Oracle Micro-Sizes App Prices For Small Businesses

It's pushing its Application Server Standard Edition One, a full-sized version of the Standard Edition app server, but priced at $4,995.
Just as IBM did over a year ago, Oracle is beginning to take the small and medium-sized business market seriously and is scaling down the price, if not the products, to meet it.

It's pushing its Application Server Standard Edition One, a full-sized version of the Standard Edition app server. It's priced at $4,995 per CPU or $9,990 for a dual-processor Intel server (the biggest computer it will work on). That compares with $10,000 per CPU for its Standard Edition or $20,000 per CPU for its Enterprise Edition.

The software, which comes bundled with a Web server and portal server, is "targeted at smaller businesses or departments within a company. It's an instant portal, out of the box," says Rob Cheng, product marketing director.

Oracle is calling the bundle Standard Edition One because the app is its entry-level product. The company will work to make those customers Standard Edition or Enterprise Edition buyers in time, Cheng says. Earlier this year, Oracle introduced the Oracle 10g Standard Edition One version of its core database. "We're moving toward an application platform suite, with a number of middleware pieces integrated together," he says.

Such an approach is easier for businesses with small IT staffs because they don't need to integrate unrelated middleware or hire consultants to do so. IBM seized the same opportunity in 2003, bringing out "Express" versions of DB2, WebSphere Application Server, and WebSphere MQ messaging middleware at reduced prices.

The move allows both IBM and Oracle to compete more effectively with Microsoft's Internet Information Server Web server; its BizTalk Server, an XML and Simple Object Access Protocol messaging server; and its SQL Server database.