On the eve of launching the second version of its flagship 8i database, officials at Oracle have claimed the vendor is in for a profitable fiscal year. Speaking to analysts and journalists at the company's Openworld event in Los Angeles last week, Jeff Henley, chief financial officer at Oracle, shrugged off any suggestions of a year 2000-related slowdown. Instead, Henley predicted strong sales and profit for Oracle during the rest of its fiscal year, primarily due to projected booming sales of its database and application software. "The pipeline growth in this quarter has been the strongest that I have seen in the past year. Whenever there are pipelines this strong, the company generally has a good quarter. And I believe that Oracle's licence growth for the full year will be even greater than last year," said Henley. He added that between 15 and 20 per cent of Oracle's sales are related to the Internet. Oracle's stock price rose dramatically, pushing its value past the $100bn (£61bn) mark for the first time in its history. The vendor also unveiled version 2 of its 8i database, which offers improved data warehousing functionality and native support for both XML and the Java 2 specification. Due to ship by the end of the year, version 2 of Oracle's database will also feature a Summary Advisor that intends to speed up data analysis. Rene Bonvanie, senior director of product marketing for the databases division at Oracle, claimed: "The new analytical features in 8i provide a 30 per cent increase in performance," he said. "About 80 per cent of queries should now be done in the database kernel and only about one per cent of the workforce, such as financial analysts that want to do deep analysis, need to use online analytical processing."
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