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When compared to several of it's key rivals who have been very active and vocal with regards to their mobile strategies, Oracle has taken a more measured approach — until now. Back in September of 2010, (without much fanfare) Oracle added a Mobile Enterprise page to the Technology Solutions section of their website, most notably, the company revealed its mobile enterprise application platform.
Like its counterparts, Oracle is keen on capitalizing on the opportunity that the mobile device proliferation happening within its customer base can potentially bring. With its own MEAP, the company can offer its customers the ability to leverage the strengths of the enterprise products they already use (namely: Oracle Database and Oracle Applications). In this vein, Oracle recently released an update to its CRM On Demand environment in the cloud — the release offers tighter integration with other applications that can be hosted in the cloud alongside Oracle CRM On Demand (both iOS and BlackBerry OS are currently supported — an Android app will likely be coming very soon).
For its customers that are deploying mobile applications and who want a mobile application platform, the company has been working with Antenna Software since 2006 — Antenna has been a good partner, and has participated in some significant (and successful) implementations in the past (e.g., DIRECTV, Pitney Bowes, and EMC). While Oracle's MEAP activities may ultimately impact its relationship with Antenna (and others), Antenna is confident in the relationship, and continues to be brought into Oracle accounts.
Under the Covers: Berkeley DB + Java (Oracle ADF) + Oracle Database Lite Mobile Server
Core to Oracle's MEAP is Berkeley DB (BDB) — it has a small-footprint (~1MB), can be embedded, and is an open-source database — it wasn't built for mobile, but with SQL API functionality, it is actually very well suited for developing mobile applications. Oracle acquired BDB with its acquisition of SleepyCat Software back in 2006. In conjunction with BDB and Oracle's Database Lite Mobile Server, Oracle's Application Development Framework (ADF) brings developers the ability build mobile applications that can not only store and synchronize mobile data, but can also deliver device management and application provisioning. ADF's metadata-driven architecture provides developers with the ability to focus on the business logic and user experience of the application — this is important for the developer community, and will entice more developers to work with Oracle's MEAP.
It's clear that Oracle recognizes the opportunity in front of them, and is well aware of their rivals mobile activities — the company's customers (and partners) are going mobile, and with its MEAP Oracle can provide its partners with the tools required to expand application scenarios for traditional Oracle applications. The customer centricity theme in business environments continues, making CRM a foundational and "core" application. Moving forward, Oracle (like it's competitors) will be focusing on expanding its mobile application range.
Oracle has always been an interesting company to watch, it has made big acquisitions in the past (Siebel, PeopleSoft, Hyperion etc.) — is a mobile oriented acquisition in the cards? If history is any guide, the answer is likely yes.