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Enterprises looking for integrated messaging and collaboration software will soon get an enhanced offering from Oracle Corp.

OCS (Oracle Collaboration Suite) 3.0, due in the fourth quarter, adds an instant messaging capability to complement the suite’s e-mail, voice mail, calendar, Web conferencing and file management features, said officials in Redwood Shores, Calif. Version 3.0 will include support for collaborative work spaces that can be launched from within other messaging and collaboration applications, officials said.

The OCS upgrade will also include a Web services API in the Oracle Files document management application. This will allow enterprises to access information and content stored in Oracle Files documents in other applications, such as stored customer information and correspondence in a CRM (customer relationship management) application.

OCS user Kyle Lambert, vice president of information solutions at John I. Haas Inc., said his company will use the Web services API.

“We’re looking to tie [the Oracle Files API] into our ERP [enterprise resource planning] system,” said Lambert in Yakima, Wash. “That way, we’ll be able to take an order and have that order automatically become part of [the customer’s] permanent record. We’ll be able to tie specific products to specific customer accounts.”

Click here to read a column about the ways messaging and collaboration are changing in the workplace.

By comparison, IBM’s current document management products, Lotus Domino Document Manager and Lotus Workplace Documents, do not include such Web services integration. A Lotus official in Cambridge, Mass., said such capabilities will be added to Workplace Documents over time, but he wouldn’t provide a time frame.

Likewise, Microsoft Corp.’s Exchange software doesn’t provide a Web services API for document management. A spokesperson said customers could get access to a document repository with the purchase of Windows SharePoint Services.

As a result, these enhancements could give Oracle a leg up. Still, the company would have a long way to go to offer serious competition to either IBM or Microsoft. Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., held 30.1 percent of corporate e-mail boxes last year with Exchange, according to The Radicati Group Inc. IBM’s Lotus Notes/ Domino garnered 25.7 percent. OCS, which began shipping only in 2002, had 2.4 million corporate e-mail boxes, less than 1 percent of the total.

But Radicati, of Palo Alto, Calif., also found that OCS customers have to spend just $65 per user, compared with $151 per user for Lotus and $221 per user for Exchange.

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