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Oracle lures developers with new software package

In a move aimed at attracting new developers, Oracle announces it is offering its database and development tools to Web start-ups in a low-priced bundle.

In a move aimed at attracting new developers, Oracle today said it is offering its database and development tools to Web start-ups in a low-priced bundle.

The new Oracle.com Suite--which includes the Oracle 8i database, the Oracle Application Server, and development tools JDeveloper and WebDB--is aimed at start-ups or current brick-and-mortar businesses that want to build and run e-commerce Web sites, Oracle executives said today.

The introductory package, which includes licenses for three developers and 25 users, costs $9,995, significantly less than if the products are bought separately, said Oracle executives, who declined to be specific about the cost savings.

Carl Olofson, analyst at International Data Corporation, said the introductory package is consistent with Oracle's strategy to attract small-business customers, while it continues to go after its core large business market.

Today's move also helps Oracle compete with Microsoft, which targets the small business market with a mix of software offerings and special introductory packages, Oracle executives said.

Microsoft sells a version of its Backoffice server tailored to small businesses, along with various office productivity applications for small offices.

Oracle's new software package supports up to 25 users or one 500 MHz-based server, Dom Lindars, Oracle's director of Internet platform marketing, said. Businesses can buy additional licenses when they need to expand.

"It's a starting point for businesses doing a serious launch of a Web site," he said. "This would be a starter pack to get them going."

Oracle is also offering a year's worth of online and telephone support for $4,000. Businesses can furthermore sign up for training courses to learn how to develop e-commerce sites, he said.

Oracle 8i is an Internet-focused database that includes a Java Virtual Machine to run Java applications. The application server is software that runs the transactions between Web browsers and the back-end database. JDeveloper is a Java development tool. WebDB is an easy-to-use Web site development tool.