'

Can Oracle hang on?

Larry Ellison stands atop an e-biz empire, but can he fend off the growing number of rivals gunning for him?

Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison already rules the database market. And now, with the imminent release of Oracle Applications 11i, he wants to swat away competition from IBM and Microsoft to conquer the world of e-business.

From Amazon.com to Yahoo, Oracle's databases are the brains behind most of the Internet's biggest dotcom storefronts. Nearly two-thirds of the Fortune 100 already rely on Oracle's e-commerce software, according to Collaborative Research. And Oracle's recent business-to-business (B2B) deals with Ford Motor and Sears, Roebuck and Co caught Wall Street's attention.

But Oracle isn't stopping to take a breather. The company hopes to drive sales even higher with Oracle Applications 11i, a software platform that spans enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM). The ERP component is slated to arrive late this month (although delay rumours continue), with CRM functionality scheduled for a Q2 release. Both components will attempt to marry business applications with the Internet. "We are delivering a comprehensive, integrated suite," says Jeff Caldwell, vice president of e-business marketing at Oracle. "Those are magic words. ERP alone isn't enough. CRM alone isn't enough. Customers know it's imperative to become an e-business. We've got the solutions and partnerships to meet that customer challenge."

At least 20 fast growing Web integrators -- including C-bridge, Bowne Internet Solutions, iXL and Sapient -- want a piece of the 11i action, and have inked strategic partnerships with Oracle.

What do you think? Tell the Mailroom and read what others have to say.