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Microsoft, Oracle team up

Software giants collaborate on cloud computing

– Microsoft’s cloud-computing service will offer Oracle’s database and Java tools as an option as the companies cast aside a longstanding rivalry to attract businesses moving their software online.

Microsoft will offer businesses using its Windows Azure service the ability to run Oracle’s widely used database software, application-connecting middleware and Java programming tools, Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer and Oracle co-President Mark Hurd said last week.

Customers are demanding that more of the companies’ products work in tandem as they create Web services that incorporate offerings from both, the executives said.

“It’s about time, and we’re really glad to have the chance to work in this much newer and more constructive way with Oracle,” Ballmer said. “The partnership has an immediate benefit to customers of every size and shape.”

Both companies face competition from nimbler rivals delivering computing power over the Internet, including Google, and

Microsoft is seeking new sources of revenue from online services as demand for personal computers slumps, and Oracle is shifting its focus to business software sold through online subscriptions rather than installed on customers’ own servers.

The alliance with Microsoft lets Oracle offer its customers the option of sticking with its database and middleware at a time when businesses are moving more of their software to cloud-computing services.

The two companies have a long history of competition stretching back to the dawn of personal computers in the 1970s. Still, they have cooperated before.

Ballmer said the companies would continue to compete and that much of their cooperation so far had been done out of public view. The very nature of cloud computing, in which software applications span multiple companies’ infrastructure software and Web sites, meant that approach was no longer sufficient, he said.

“That behind-the-scenes collaboration is not enough. People wanted more from us,” Ballmer said. “In the world of cloud, you’ve got to do that kind of partnership actively, not passively.”