US Report: Oracle wants to deliver your bills online

Oracle is getting ready to enter the emerging and much ballyhooed field of presenting bills electronically on computer networks, according to industry executives familiar with the development project.

Oracle's offering, dubbed Tribeca, is designed to let banks and large companies use their Web sites to deliver bills to customers according to one Oracle insider who has been involved with Tribeca. Oracle is said to be concentrating its initial sales efforts on large financial institutions. Chase Manhattan is rumoured to be among the first to have signed on to use Tribeca.

Tribeca will require billers to use an Oracle 8 database and the company's Internet Application Server. Oracle is set to disclose details of Application Server 4.0 today. "Oracle's whole strategy is to build vertical applications for vertical industries over the Web to compete with Kiva [Software Corp.] or NetDynamics ," according to the Oracle insider, who insisted his name not be disclosed. He expects Tribeca to be one of the earliest of these applications.

"Tribeca would manage all of the presentation and permission aspects" of bill presentment for billers, said Richard Crone, a vice president and general manager at digital payment system supplier CyberCash in the US.

Oracle rival Microsoft teamed with First Data Corp., a payments processor, to form a joint venture called MSFDC LLC. MSFDC aims to act as a consolidator, hosting data from a variety of billers so that consumers can collect their bills at one online location. Oracle will work with banks that will act as bill consolidators. But it is betting that billers will want to encourage customers to come to their sites to pay bills, as well.