Oracle and BT Ignite have joined forces to lease the former's ebusiness products throughout Europe.
Potential subscribers will pay monthly fees to have their software and support handled by Oracle with hosting, hardware maintenance and delivery made through BT Ignite and its European network of 22 data centres.
The offering is the first partnership for what Oracle calls Ebusiness Any Place, an addition to its current options of managing all services (Ebusiness Our Place), or the user managing their own hardware (Ebusiness Your Place). The service will be jointly marketed by BT and Oracle.
Sergio Giacolettoa, executive vice president at Oracle, Europe, Middle East & Africa, said that he expects most of the company's software to be rented within three to five years.
In the US, Oracle's rental trial has 125 customers. The firm said that these ranged from a small gourmet restaurant to 22,000 users at the Bank of Montreal.
Oracle and BT Ignite hope to sign their first customers in Europe before Christmas. One or two year licence terms will be available. European pricing is unknown, but in the US such applications cost $300 to $700 per user per month.
The application service provider (ASP) model has been touted as offering savings for businesses and opportunities for software companies. Analyst Gartner has predicted that the market will grow to the point where by 2010 practically all software will be rented rather than bought.
But the sector has seriously disappointed thus far. It is expected by research firm Datamonitor to generate only £266m in European revenues this year.
A report from IDC claims that ASPs have failed to provide the right combination of applications, services and infrastructure.
Corporates are reluctant to rent one-size-fits-all software that is less customisable. Research from Ernst & Young suggests that users don't trust ASPs with their data and business processes, and don't have faith in their ability to avoid downtime during upgrades and repairs.
As an example of its reliability, Oracle said that each client has a dedicated server and that no customers had complained of a drop off caused by the side effects of the Nimda virus.
IDC expects many existing ASPs to go to the wall this year as big players like SAP, Siebel and Oracle establish themselves in the market. Gartner has predicted that two in five will go out of business this year.
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