Oracle's New Office App Suites Target Microsoft, Google

Oracle may be better known as a supplier of data center hardware and software products, but it isn't ceding the desktop to Microsoft and Google. This week Oracle unveiled the Web-based Oracle Cloud Office 1.0 and Oracle Open Office 3.3 productivity application suites to compete against Microsoft Office, Microsoft Office 365 and Google Docs.

Both suites are based on the technology Oracle acquired when it bought Sun Microsystems in January. Oracle said the applications allow users to collaboratively create and edit documents through a browser.

Oracle is pitching the products as lower-cost alternatives to its competitors, especially Microsoft Office.

"With Oracle Office, enterprises can reduce costs while helping to increase productivity and speed innovation," said Michael Bemmer, vice president of Oracle Office, in a statement. "Customers now have the flexibility to support users across a wide variety of devices and platforms, whether via desktop, private or public cloud."

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Both suites, collectively known as Oracle Office, include word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, database and drawing applications. The applications incorporate the Open Document Format standard and other Web 2.0 publishing specs, making it possible to share files with Microsoft Office, Oracle said.

Both products run on Windows, Mac and Linux computers, as well as Web browsers and smartphones such as the Apple iPhone.

Oracle Cloud Office 1.0 is a Web and mobile office application suite for collaboration and mobile document access. The software can be used on-premise or in Software-as-a-Service deployments and Oracle said the software costs are "up to five times lower" compared to licensing costs for Microsoft Office.

Oracle Open Office is designed for enterprise users and the 3.3 release offers new connectors to Oracle Business Intelligence, Oracle E-Business Suite and other Oracle applications, as well as Microsoft SharePoint.

This week Oracle also said MySQL 5.5, a new release of the open-source database, is now generally available. Oracle said the new edition offers improved performance, scalability and availability for supporting large-scale Web applications.