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Oracle making an open-source triple play?

Oracle is negotiating to buy three open-source companies to accelerate its transition to a subscription-based selling model, according to a report.

BusinessWeek Online Thursday published an article saying that Oracle was planning to acquire open-source middleware company JBoss, PHP tools maker Zend Technologies, and open-source database company Sleepycat.

The report follows weeks of rumors around an , which both companies declined to comment on two weeks ago. The BusinessWeek Online report said that JBoss and Oracle were haggling over price.

Such a move by Oracle would be a dramatic change for the software giant, but one that could mesh with its current strategy.

Oracle makes the majority of its revenue from its database and applications business. And it has its own line of Java middleware, which competes with JBoss' software, and a set of Java developer tools.

However, Oracle has been warming up to open-source products, including Zend's PHP development tools, over the past year because its corporate customers are increasingly using open source software, according to company executives.

In addition, Oracle has been seeking to shift its revenue model from up-front licenses and support to a subscription model, where companies pay for ongoing support and updates.

JBoss uses a support subscription model rather than charge a license fee, as do Zend and Sleepycat for some of its customers.

Oracle also recently acquired a small Finnish company called InnoDB which supplies a storage engine to the MySQL open-source database.

Officials from Oracle, Sleepycat, and Zend did not respond for requests to comment. A JBoss spokesperson on Friday said the company does not comment on rumors.