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Oracle does the wireless portal me-too two-step

It's unique, says Larry. You should get out more, says The Reg

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Have portal project, will IPO? It's not exactly original, and Larry Ellison had a stash of me-toos to announce when he rolled out Oracle's OracleMobile.com project yesterday. Bizarrely, even the name was a me-too, as the domain in question is currently occupied by, er, somebody else.

Pending resolution OracleMobile.com the company is occupying oramobile.com. But we won't go into the ramifications of that. Casting around for a definition of what OracleMobile.com would be doing (apart from IPOing this year, that is), Ellison fixed on Phone.com as an example of the competition, and seemed to be of the opinion that there wasn't any other competition. That rather depends how you see it though.

Phone.com, formerly Unwired Planet, was one of the WAP Forum founders and recently has been busily acquiring companies in order to turn itself into a viable wireless Web portal operation. Largely speaking its customers are carriers, so if Oracle is positioning OracleMobile.com as a comprehensive set of services to be sold to carriers, then maybe the competition is a bit thinner than might otherwise seem the case. But oramobile.com currently seems to be presenting itself as a portal, and if Larry thinks there's only one other wannabe wireless portal in the world he really hasn't been paying attention.

From the initial list of partners and the recommended handsets, OracleMobile.com looks pretty US-centric, and as it seems it's being pitched for sale to carriers as a branded operation, rather than being branded by the carriers themselves. This also tends to fit better with the US market, where mobile phone carriers have yet to evolve into vast 'I want it all' Vodafone-style empires.

It's also significant that, rather than getting involved with the usual suspects of the wireless world, Oracle is climbing into bed with Motorola and its Mobile Internet eXchange (MIX) communications platform, which is aimed at carriers and is intended to integrate voice and data communications on the move. The absence of obvious links to the likes of Nokia, Ericsson, IBM, Sun (and Symbian if you like) suggests that Oracle and Motorola may find themselves singing from a slightly incompatible song-sheet if they're not careful. ®

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