Oracle makes a fresh run at SharePoint

Oracle is hoping to make new inroads against Microsoft's SharePoint with WebCenter Suite 11g, which was announced Tuesday.

The company pulled together a superset of capabilities from its various portal products for the new product, said Andy MacMillan, vice president of product management.

The release traces back to Oracle's "continue and converge" plan laid out in 2008 when it purchased BEA, which had a number of portal assets, MacMillan said. Oracle always intended to "bring together the best of the best ... into a single unified use case," while continuing to develop the portal products independently, he said.

"Customers are invested in these platforms. What we want to do is provide them a way, at their choosing, to leverage the converged stack," he said.

The suite includes a content management infrastructure along with components for building portals, websites and composite applications.

Oracle has also packaged capabilities from its Beehive collaboration suite specifically for use with WebCenter. Contrary to some recent indications, Beehive is still alive as an independent product, according to MacMillan.

Oracle may face some challenges trying to sell a broad-based portal product into corporate environments where SharePoint is already in wide use.

But Oracle is positioning WebCenter Suite as something more robust than "purely ad-hoc" SharePoint installations that mostly play the role of file servers, MacMillan said. "What we're talking about is how you are collaborating around key business processes," he said.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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