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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Oracle Acquires Portal Software

Oracle had always been eyeing the telecom market. Here comes the news that Portal, the billing and Revenue Management solution provider for telecommunications and media markets is being acquired by oracle. The acquisition price is set at $220 million. On the face of it Oracle eBiz suite, Siebel CRM & Portal billing and revenue management nicely supplement each other. Telecom billing is not part of core offerring for any standard enterprise player.Billing solutions are seen as a critical infrastructure for telco service providers and this is a fast growing high yielding market.Portal covers the entire gamut of billing creation, mediation and rating functionality with support for wireline, wireless, broadband, cable, voice over IP, IPTV, music, and video. The telecom industry itself is in the midst of massive transition. Besides heighthened M&A activities, the dyanamics and metrics of operator offerings towards end consumers are changing with numerous cross selling, up selling package options. With the increasingly felt trend of converegence of publishing, media, and entertainment services converge, a unified /homogeneous solution for billing, customer interaction, and management of digital services and content is indeed an attractive proposition. Chuck Phillips in an earlier interview said that oracle would help users move from writing code to deploying solutions around packagess- may be it would happen as we move furtehr down. This time around oracle has acquired an existing package solution player.This is an acqusition if played well can work out well for Oracle. Few things to note here :
A. Several telcos buy solutions as a package deal - so oracle may be forced to work well with multiple partners here.Best of breed may still be seen as a viable option.
B. There is a view that telco billing software could be a prime canditate to be offered as a hosted solution for telecom players. We have to see how oracle manages this.
C. Several Telco's may make investments in different solutions like billing, intermediation etc at various points in time and may overlook the benefits of an integrated suite therein
D. The switching costs of software infrastructure is seen as very high by Telco's and too often they postpone moving away from existing set of applications.
Telecom systems are highly specialised and in many cases support specific set of processes and hardware - Looks like Oracle has picked up a good find that too at an attractive proce. The key now is how oracle builds on this advantage for mere additions of portfolio alone won't do - as we see that in case of many large players the peripheral solutions never take off all that well- like oracle's internally developed web portal products

Update : Jeff points to a SAP Perspective about the deal.

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