Oracle tweaks branding

Oracle last week said it is to revert to a numbering strategy for the next release of its flagship database product.

The current release is dubbed Oracle8i -- with the `i' signifying Internet -- in preference to the expected 8.1. However, UK product marketing manager Nick Gregory said that the next release will be named Oracle8.2.

That step back to a numeric suffix would go against the grain for Oracle, which has recently wholeheartedly identified itself with the Net in its marketing activities. That strategy was in turn a reversal of the previous high-profile commitment to `network computing' which Gregory said had been jilted because the term had become too closely identified with the concept of the `network computer' -- a diskless device for browser-based client computing.

At the September launch of Oracle8i in New York, CEO Larry Ellison got a possibly unexpected laugh when a journalist asked what had happened to the Network Computing Architecture. Ellison said that NCA -- previously seen as the cornerstone of Oracle's enterprise strategy -- was merely Oracle's proprietary name for the Internet.

In other Oracle news, Oracle today said it planned to offer customers of Scopus software a 50 percent cheaper licence for Oracle Front Office 3.0. The deal is available until 28 February 1999. Oracle's Consulting division will also offer a `Fast Path' migration programme. The Scopus deals are US-only for now but may be extended. Scopus was acquired by Siebel Systems earlier this year.