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Oracle buys front-office help

Oracle acquires Tinoway Nederland, a field service software firm, furthering its mission to rival front-office software leader Siebel Systems.

Oracle said today it has acquired Tinoway Nederland, a privately held Dutch field service software firm that Oracle says will help strengthen its mission to topple No. 1 front-office vendor Siebel Systems.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Tinoway, which has 80 employees and 60 customers for its core mobile field service applications, is located in Nieuwegein, Netherlands. Under the acquisition, Tinoway's employees will move to Oracle's Dutch headquarters.

Oracle has sold Tinoway's software, which links field service agents to their home offices over a wireless network, since last year. The companies have about a dozen joint customers, said Mark Barrenechea, Oracle's vice president of customer relationship management products.

Tinoway is Redwood Shores, California-based Oracle's third front-office acquisition within eight months. The firm also scooped up call center management software maker Versatility last August and configuration software-maker Concentra in November.

Along with the Versatility and Concentra products, Tinoway's field service line is now fully integrated with Oracle CRM 3i, a Web-based front-office suite of 35 applications for marketing, sales, service, call center, and electronic commerce, Barrenechea said.

General availability of the Tinoway products, renamed Oracle Mobile Field Service, is slated for May 15. Oracle Mobile Field Service will be sold as a standalone component or part of the integrated CRM 3i front-office suite. Pricing was not disclosed.

"We're now engaging fully against Siebel," Barrenechea said.

But the battle has only just begun, analysts say. Despite Oracle's intention to become the top front-office vendor by the middle of next year, well-established Siebel, with $391.5 million in 1998 revenues and its own Web-based product line, is the clear market leader, trailed by smaller firms Vantive and Clarify.