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Database war breaks out between IBM and Oracle

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Executives at Oracle are livid after IBM staged a publicity stunt at OpenWorld last week designed to promote the benefits of the Big Blue database DB2. According to a source at Big Blue, the stunt, which involved rollerbladers carrying placards pushing IBM database software, was designed to hit back at an Oracle US ad campaign which rubbished its e-commerce initiative. OpenWorld is Oracle's premier annual conference. IBM is currently pushing DB2 software hard as an alternative to the Oracle database, and the decision was made because of the relatively low profile Big Blue's software currently has. The placards said things like "IBM has created more database patents for the industry than any other vendor". The publicity stunt recalls the days when Oracle, Informix and Sybase were in a bitter fight to win the hearts, minds and wallets of corporate customers. Informix, for example, plastered the Italian city of Florence with advertising during an Oracle conference. Most observers had thought the database wars were over and Oracle had beaten Informix and Sybase. That, apparently, is not how IBM sees it. ®

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