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Date: Fri, 25 Aug 2000 09:51:29 -0400
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I think there are several folks on the list who may be interested in the following:

Oracle is joining the ranks of vendors announcing Internet sales-force automation packages. The catch (for competitors): It will be freeware.

Oracle next week will roll out, a collection of applications aimed at some of the most typical sales-force automation tasks: calendaring, contact management, forecasting, opportunity management, and pipeline management. Oracle hopes the service will introduce new customers to other Oracle CRM applications and also chip away at the sales-automation stronghold of its chief competitor, Siebel Systems. "This is the heart of sales-force automation," says Mark Barrenechea, a senior VP at Oracle. "This is where Siebel lives."

Oracle will eventually recover its costs by selling fee-based applications like marketing automation and sales compensation, which are due by the end of the year. The vendor will gradually flesh out the line so that it becomes an Internet version of its traditional CRM offering. Those paid-for products are expected to cost roughly what the traditional product modules would.

Unlike competitors in the online-sales market, such as,, and, OracleSalesOnline targets midsize companies, although Oracle is certainly open to smaller businesses as well. One of its initial 300 customers is, which sells greeting cards to businesses for distribution to customers, employees, and prospects. For, OracleSalesOnline represented a simple way for it to track its activities with customers.

"With a small company, you have to do everything on your own," says
Alex Johnson, VP of business development at The Internet model and the pricing also made it an attractive option for the resource-strapped company. - Jeff Sweat

Corporate E-mail has an afterlife that can come back to haunt companies and their executives. Witness the use of sensitive communications by Microsoft officials in the Department of Justice suit against the software giant. But startup Disappearing Inc. has a solution that should give companies control over their sensitive electronic communications.

"Many businesspeople are reticent to use E-mail for sensitive
communications," says Disappearing CEO Maden Marvit. "The concerns over intellectual property getting into the wrong hands are great."

Disappearing Email lets users write their messages in the electronic equivalent of disappearing ink. Users can set a time period after which a message can no longer be read. The system consists of client software, which is currently available for Microsoft Outlook, and a service that resides on Disappearing's servers. Once the message has expired, the key that opens the message is deleted from its server.

The company last week revealed plans to develop a version of the software for Lotus Notes. Disappearing also offers a developers' kit that lets users port the system to other mail clients.

Users can download a free trial copy of the client software from the Received on Fri Aug 25 2000 - 08:51:29 CDT

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