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Oracle and Mozilla to Release Open-Source Outlook Alternative?
July 1, 2005
Mark Rittman

Oracle works quietly with Mozilla : "Oracle and the Mozilla Foundation are keeping a joint venture under wraps, leading to speculation that the database giant may by planning to release an open-source product.

The Mozilla Foundation revealed in February at the Free and Open Source Developers' European Meeting (FOSDEM) that the database giant had hired three people to work on Mozilla Lightning. 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.

With Oracle reluctant to talk about its work with Mozilla, industry watchers have been left to speculate on whether Oracle plans to follow Novell's lead in releasing an open-source collaboration product.

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."


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