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Oracle updates Net messaging

The firm rolls out the latest version of its Internet messaging package for service providers and businesses.

As expected, Oracle today rolled out the latest version of its Internet messaging package for service providers and businesses.

Oracle Internet Messaging 4.2 provides electronic messaging, directory, and scheduling services to standard-based client applications like Netscape Messenger, Eudora Pro Lite, or Microsoft Outlook Express, the company said.

The new package supports IMAP4 and POP3, and additional support for directory services through LDAP version 3, security features through secure sockets layer (SSL), antivirus and antispamming capabilities, calendar and other scheduling services, Palm Pilot and Windows CE synchronization, and enhanced unified messaging capabilities. Oracle Internet Messaging is built on the Oracle8 database and Oracle Applications Server.

Along with targeting the business user, Oracle joins a number of corporate messaging platform vendors trying to tap into the growing market for ISP messaging and collaboration services.

Successful corporate email software vendors, like Microsoft, Netscape Communications, and Lotus Development, are having trouble duplicating that success in the ISP messaging and collaboration markets, according to a recently released report.

The report, released in August by International Data Corporation, found that Internet service providers and telecommunications companies that offer email services to their subscribers are "overwhelmingly" choosing basic messaging software, such as SendMail, ISP messaging products by Software.com, or their own homemade or proprietary systems, over more advanced software.

But Oracle executives expect success for their product in the ISP market space because of the success of the company's database and applications server.

"These two products are known in the industry. Add the messaging solution to these, and [ISPs] have a very scalable and reliable product they can use," said Raijan Das, group product marketing manager for Oracle's Internet applications group. Unlike what corporate users are looking for, "[ISP's] are looking for reliability and scalability rather than feature rich," in the products they buy.

Kurt Christoferson, senior product manager for the Internet applications group, said another edge the new Internet Messaging package provides is strong unified messaging capabilities. "Everybody is looking to expand their products and look at convergence. They see the Internet as the way to do that."

He said with this release the company paid special attention to the needs of the mobile user by integrating multimedia technology that allows users to listen to their voice mail while using their lap-top away from their phone. "We see the cellular system as an extension of the Internet, and now we allow users to execute email transactions with their cell-phone.

The new Oracle messaging package also offers a PL/SQL and Java-based development and integration environment, which allows corporate users to integrate existing applications, like provision and billing applications, with messaging technologies. Integrating applications like these allow customers to use Internet Messaging as the platform to integrate and extend existing applications, the company said.

The company did not make pricing available.