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Siebel pushes Microsoft's SQL Server 7.0

Siebel and Microsoft will combine Microsoft's SQL Server 7.0 with Siebel's Web-based front-office application suite, pushing customers to switch from their current Oracle database for a low-priced upgrade.

Siebel Systems and Microsoft today said they'll combine Microsoft's SQL Server 7.0 with Siebel's Web-based front-office application suite, pushing customers to switch from their current Oracle database for a low-priced upgrade.

Beginning next month, San Mateo, California-based Siebel said it will ship its front office applications integrated with Microsoft's SQL server along with technology support from both companies.

Bruce Cleveland, a vice president for Siebel, said that the alliance with Microsoft resulted "really from what our customers wanted." He added that Siebel customers were requesting strong support for their Microsoft SQL server and that the demand for the server from the firm's midmarket and large global customers has increased substantially leading to the integration pact between the two companies.

In addition, Siebel said it plans to offer customers an upgrade from an Oracle database server, or any other database, for $170 per user, which includes customer support for two years from Siebel and Microsoft as well as maintenance upgrades to future releases of the SQL server.

Oracle, which has been making an aggressive move forward into the customer relationship management (CRM), or front office space, has vowed to topple No. 1 CRM vendor Siebel in the market space within a year.

But, Cleveland said that while "Oracle is a large, well-respected company that demonstrated capabilities of a powerful database platform, it's still not yet clear if they can successfully deliver in other areas." He added, "It's safe to say, Siebel is delivering the products that customers want, that customers are purchasing and repurchasing, which is helping us maintain that leadership."

Under today's deal with Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft, companies can deploy Siebel's sales, marketing, and customer service applications with the SQL Server. New Siebel customers that buy the integrated suite will pay less than if they acquired Siebel applications and the SQL Server separately, both companies said in a statement.

Siebel and Microsoft have also created a technology and customer support center located in Redmond, Washington staffed by engineers from both companies.