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Oracle works quietly with Mozilla

At the Free and Open Source Developers' European Meeting (FOSDEM), Mozilla announced that Oracle has hired 3 individuals to work on Mozilla Lightning:

The joint venture is aimed at integrating Mozilla's calander application with its e-mail application, which in turn, would compete with Microsoft Outlook.

This project, which aims to integrate Mozilla's calendar application, Sunbird, with its e-mail application, Thunderbird, is believed to be key to cracking the market dominance of Microsoft Outlook.

Despite repeated requests over the last two months, Oracle has been unable to provide ZDNet UK with a representative to speak about its work on the Lightning project. The Mozilla Foundation itself directed inquiries on the issue back to Oracle.

Much speculation remains as to Oracle's motives behind the venture, as Oracle has stayed tight-lipped about the venture:

Gervase Markham, a Mozilla staff member, speculated at the FOSDEM that Oracle's main motivation in working with Mozilla on the Lightning project is likely to be creating a competitor to Microsoft Outlook--and ultimately take market share away from Exchange.

"Larry feels that with small amount of investment and time he can make Bill Gates worried," Markham said at FOSDEM. "The Exchange monopoly is based on the Outlook monopoly. People pay shed-loads of cash for Exchange. If we can provide an alternative to Outlook, it will make Microsoft worried."

Oracle has stated that it would make a formal announcement regarding its teaming with Mozill, in the next year.  However, this was January 2004.


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