Oracle Bets on Subscriptions for Small Business

Firing up the rhetoric, Oracle front man Larry Ellison announced a new suite of online business applications Tuesday, aimed to compete with Microsoft's bCentral. Described by Ellison as a "direct assault" on the Redmond giant, Oracle's service will target companies with 100 employees or less at a cost of $99 USD per month. Microsoft's purchase of Great Plains software assures that an online battle will ensue between the world's two largest software companies.



The over 100,000 bCentral subscribers pay an average of $30 USD each month according to an Associated Press report. However, Ellison is confident enough that his service will be adopted by the marketplace and claims, "bCentral is so bad that our biggest fear is that people will think online services won't work." Oracle will charge an Internet startup, NetLedger, with the task of promoting its online business applications to small businesses. Oracle owns a majority share in NetLedger.

Both Microsoft and Oracle seek to remove barriers that have existed for small business to run integrated enterprise applications. Oracle chief marketing officer, Mark Jarvis stated, "While small businesses are looking to gain the same efficiencies as large business, traditional enterprise applications have been too expensive and complex to implement."

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As these two companies continue to duke it out, small businesses will no doubt benefit from the availability of low cost solutions with the flexibility and power of traditional enterprise suites – assuming they work as advertised. A 14-day trial subscription to the Oracle service is now available online at smallbusiness.oracle.com.

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