Oracle Fields SMB Suite

The company tested the special edition, which includes financials and marketing applications, in Asia and Europe. The plan will bring that licensing deal to the United States in the next three to six months, said Jacqueline Woods, vice president of global pricing and licensing strategy at Oracle, Redwood Shores, Calif.

The special edition would be limited to companies with 50 seats or less, she noted. The European edition sells for 2,000 Euros (US$2455) per user, a spokeswoman said. She would not comment on potential U.S. pricing.

Oracle has come up with special versions of its flagship database for smaller companies but needs to better penetrate these companies with its applications as well. The company had relied on its partnership with NetSuite (formerly NetLedger) on this front, but the companies severed their licensing ties earlier this year, leaving a gap in Oracle's product lineup.

In addition, the company may loosen up licensing of its Application Server so customers can buy various components, such as e-mail, forms or portal, without footing the bill for the full-blown server, Woods told CRN. Timing on this is likely some six months out, she said.

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Dan Mori, vice president at Fusionstorm, a San Francisco Oracle partner, liked the idea of the special-edition apps, but wondered if Oracle will pitch them through partners or sell them direct.

He thought the idea of more modular applications server components would be complex and make licensing very hard to manage.

But Deke Johnson, vice president at Aware Technologies, a Belmont, Calif.-based, Oracle partner, said componentization is inevitable. "Customers want to buy what they use, not all this other stuff. It makes the price list longer, but it's what people want," he said.

Another anonymous Oracle partner said the company need to expand. "Oracle's original Small Business Suite failed," he said. "They spun it off to NetLedger. NetLedger rewrote it and came up with an offering Oracle will have to contend with."