ORACLE SERVERS ON A ROLL WITH 4 TELEPHONE CONTRACTS

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Like a championship team winning repeat titles, Oracle Corp. shouted "Four in a row" after BellSouth Corp.'s decision last week to use Oracle software for interactive TV trials in 12,000 Atlanta households. BellSouth is the fourth telecommunications company in 13 months to agree to use Oracle software.

The Redwood City, Calif.-based company promised more announcements this summer, hinting of another Baby Bell contract plus agreements with "content" providers such as entertainment companies or retailers.

Oracle, which made its name in database software for large companies, will provide media server software that will work with Hewlett-Packard Co. hardware and Scientific-Atlanta set-top boxes for the BellSouth trial.

Servers dish out movies on demand and other programming and keep track of who ordered what.

"Oracle's software is real, it's here today, and it's being deployed today. It is a complete solution," said Karen White, Oracle VP-strategy and planning.

Microsoft Corp., a primary competitor, will deploy Tiger, its video server system, in Seattle later this year with Tele-Communications Inc.

Oracle, led by its intensive founder-CEO Larry Ellison, has won contracts with Bell Atlantic Corp., U S West and British Telecom, but its rec ord with cable TV operators is more spotty. Ms. White said phone companies have been more assertive than cable companies in pushing into interactive multimedia.

"The telecommunications companies came to us first," she said. "We are in active discussion with cable TV companies as well."

Time Warner's Orlando trial will use Oracle's database software to process transactions, but servers will come from Silicon Graphics.

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