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Oracle buys into convergence

Versatility and call centres name of the game

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Database giant Oracle bought a convergence-based software company on Friday for $12 million. The company acquired Versatility, a US company which manufactures call centre software, in a bid to beef up its front office products, compete wth PeopleSoft and SAP and also meet a demand for a market which is showing firm signs of growth. Large computer firms like Compaq and IBM are implementing extensive call centre technology and staff to increase their competitiveness in the market but Oracle is missing out on selling front end software products which could link into their extensive back office database systems. Compaq, for example, earlier this year opened a large call centre in Glasgow, Scotland, which uses a customised and Internet based front end for use by its channel partners, while IBM has recently opened a similar centre just down the road in Greenock which will act as a support centre for a large chunk of western Europe. Oracle is believed to have acquired Versatility so that it can develop systems which will take advantage of convergence in this lucrative market. ®

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