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Oracle - Microsoft sales battles revealed in court

Bill and Larry go toe-to-toe...

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Oracle and Microsoft competed directly for contracts 94 times between 2002 and 2003, according to documents revealed in court yesterday. They went head-to-head at 94 different companies, eight of which were large companies, the New York Times reports.

The evidence was revealed as part of Oracle's attempt to show that it already faces competition from more than just SAP and PeopleSoft. Oracle claims smaller rivals such as Lawson Software are an increasing threat, as is Microsoft.

Oracle is in court to defend its attempted takeover of PeopleSoft. The Department of Justice argues a merger would damage competition in the market for high-end back office software. It thinks the market is dominated by Oracle, SAP and PeopleSoft and fears that reducing three companies to just two would damage competition and lead to higher prices.

The database giant is keen to paint Microsoft as a potential rival, a position strengthened by Microsoft's admission during the trial that it had held exploratory takeover talks with SAP. According to the DoJ, the failure of the talks is evidence of the difficulty another company faces in gaining a foothold in software for big businesses.

The DoJ is expected to produce evidence that Microsoft will stick to medium-sized businesses for at least the next few years. It presents its final witness today - Doug Burgum, senior vice president of Microsoft's business solutions group. ®

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