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Qwest embraces Oracle's online business service

Qwest Communications is slipping Oracle's Business Online service onto a menu of software it plans to host for corporate customers over its high-speed network.

Qwest Communications is slipping Oracle's Business Online service onto a menu of software it plans to host for corporate customers over its high-speed network.

The service is a package of business software, such as database, accounts Payable, or human resource applications, that companies can access through a Web browser. Qwest will manage the software through its data centers, called CyberCenters, located throughout the United States.

"Oracle Online can shorten the implementation period from years or months to weeks," said Chris Russell, president of Oracle's Business Online unit. He said that two of Business Online's three pilot customers had implemented in a month or less.

Oracle also said it has finished the pilot phase of Business Online, launched in November, with three customers, including Triton Network Systems. Oracle said the service will be available to customers in 90 days within the United States and by year's end in Asia and Europe. Oracle and Qwest will jointly market the services to businesses of all sizes.

Russell said pricing will be based on the number of users and the type of application. Prices start at $800-900 per month for full-scale access to Oracle applications, with prices of $200-300 a month for more limited use. Those prices exclude telecommunications costs of connecting to the Qwest data center, which Russell estimated at several thousand dollars per month.

The agreement follows similar deals last month that Qwest made with Hewlett-Packard and SAP.

As part of that deal, Hewlett-Packard committed $500 million for server hardware, software and support services for Qwest's CyberCenters.

Other technologically advanced, fiber-optic network providers such as Frontier have also begun to offer applications outsourcing for business customers.

Overall, International Data Corporation analyst Meredith McCarty said she expects spending on services offered by so-called applications outsourcers to reach $150.4 million worldwide this year.

Reuters contributed to this story.