Oracle Aims Skyward, Buys E-Travel for $35 Million

Less than one week after Microsoft made many of its e-commerce plans public, Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL), the world’s No. 2 software company, added some firepower to its e-commerce arsenal.

On Tuesday, Oracle announced the acquisition of E-Travel, which provides online travel management solutions for corporations.

Oracle, the world’s leading supplier of information management software, paid $35 million (US$) in cash for E-Travel, which will be operated as a separate unit within Oracle. E-Travel will be renamed Oracle eTravel and integrated into Oracle’s existing business management software.

E-Travel allows users to plan and book corporate travel through the Web. The service saves corporate travelers money because it cuts travel brokerage fees.

Oracle is so confident about E-Travel that it plans to have more than 20,000 of its own employees use the service to make corporate travel arrangements.

“Oracle and E-Travel share a vision that the Internet truly changes the way business is conducted,” said Ron Wohl, senior vice president for Oracle Applications Development. Together, he added, the companies will be able to provide an integrated solution that helps companies streamline and manage their travel management operations, and reduce one of their major expense areas.

Impressive List of Clients

E-Travel is already being distributed by 12 of the largest corporate travel agencies and used by more than 200 corporations including Coca-Cola, Fidelity, First USA Bank, and Philip Morris.

If E-Travel continues to grow, it could hurt Microsoft’s bottom line. Microsoft operates Expedia, a comprehensive self-service travel site. There’s little doubt that E-Travel will capture an enormous share of the corporate travel industry.

Oracle, after all, provides information management services to 90 percent of the Fortune 500. What’s equally notable is that many of the top e-commerce sites, including Amazon.com use Oracle software.

Thumbs Up for Red Hat Linux

In other news on Monday, Oracle announced that it will invest in Red Hat Software, which sells packaged versions of the Linux operating system, and offers technical support for the software. Compaq, Novell and IBM will also take minority stakes in Red Hat. Intel and Netscape became investors in September.

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