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Visigenic object of Oracle's desire

Oracle inks a deal with Visigenic Software, a move that escalates the war for Web developers being waged between Oracle and Microsoft.

Hoping to make its software appeal to the broadest range of developers, Oracle (ORCL) today inked a deal with Visigenic Software to add greater support for Java and competing component architectures backed by Netscape Communications and Microsoft.

The deal escalates the war for Web developers being waged between Oracle and Microsoft. The additional software effectively makes Oracle's Network Computer Architecture (NCA) cross-platform development scheme more appealing to developers using Java, C++, and tools that use ActiveX technology, such as Microsoft's Visual Basic.

Oracle signed a deal with Visigenic to license the company's VisiBroker for Java and VisiBroker for C++ Object Request Broker (ORB) technology for inclusion in Oracle's server-based software. ORBs enable cross-platform communication between objects.

The ORB software will extend Oracle's support for the Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) standard for cross-platform communications between applications and components. Netscape's Internet-Inter-ORB (IIOP) protocol is based on CORBA. The deal will also allow developers to use Java and C++ to build applications that can work with Oracle's NCA.

Playing both sides of the fence, Oracle also licensed Visigenic's VisiBridge software, which will allow desktop applications based on Microsoft's ActiveX technology to access CORBA-based server software from Oracle and third parties. ActiveX is based on a CORBA competitor called the Component Object Model. The VisiBridge software will let any ActiveX control embedded in Web applications or in Visual Basic programs, for instance, work with Oracle's NCA.

Oracle will sell the products separately, and will integrate them into various products, beginning next quarter, said Rod Butters, senior director of server technology at Oracle. No pricing has been announced.