Oracle financial woes mulled by rivals

Oracle's rivals have wasted no time in dispatching their views on the database giant's disappointing quarterly results. Speaking on a panel of software vendors at the DCI Database & Client/Server World conference, representatives from IBM, Sybase, and Informix had their own explanations on why Oracle did not meet expectations for the quarter. 'If you look at what Oracle's been doing over the last year, it's hard to tell what business they're in,' be it hardware, software, or otherwise, said IBM's Janet Perna. Wasn't that just Oracle acting like IBM? demanded her co-panelist Andrew Filipowski, president and CEO of Platinum Technology.

Oracle's rivals have wasted no time in dispatching their views on the database giant's disappointing quarterly results.

Speaking on a panel of software vendors at the DCI Database & Client/Server World conference, representatives from IBM, Sybase, and Informix had their own explanations on why Oracle did not meet expectations for the quarter.

"If you look at what Oracle's been doing over the last year, it's hard to tell what business they're in," be it hardware, software, or otherwise, said Janet Perna, IBM general manager of data management software solutions, in Somers, New York. This statement prompted a quick retort that Oracle was acting like IBM, from co-panelist Andrew Filipowski, president and CEO of Platinum Technology.

Sybase Chairman Mitchell Kertzman said Oracle's "problems are more of execution than anything else."

Panel moderator George Schussel, CEO of DCI, doubted Oracle would succeed with its plan to move the industry to Internet-based network computers and away from personal computers.

"I for one don't think that that's going to work," Schussel said. He later commented that Oracle had been invited to participate on the panel but did not respond to a request.

Sybase's Kertzman questioned Oracle's motives in promoting network computers.

"I think bringing down the PC is not a customer-oriented goal; it's a competitive-oriented goal," Kertzman said. Oracle has focused on attacking Microsoft Windows-based PCs as unwieldy and expensive.

In other discussions, panel members debated the merits of Windows NT vs. Unix, and Unix vs. mainframes.

"Unix is nowhere near the industrial strength and reliability of the [mainframe IBM] 390 platform," Perna said. Customers have been switching back from Unix to mainframes, she added, but Unix is more industrial-strength than NT.

In a discussion about Java, Platinum's Filipowski said the Java programming language may not live up to its own hype but would nonetheless be very important.

"The fact of the matter is, it's going to be extremely popular," Filipowski said.

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