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Oracle's Ellison Issues IBM Challenge

(Updates share price)

SAN FRANCISCO ( TheStreet) -- Oracle (ORCL - Get Report) CEO Larry Ellison took a swing at tech bellwether IBM (IBM - Get Report) to kick off the database giant's annual user conference late Sunday and urged customers have faith in his acquisition of Sun Microsystems (JAVA).

The fiery Oracle chief came out all guns blazing during the opening keynote at the Moscone Center late Sunday, targeting his firm's biggest database rival. Ellison blasted IBM for allegedly claiming that Oracle would get rid of Sun's hardware business.

Sun uses its SPARC processor technology within its hardware, whereas IBM sells systems based on its own chips, called Power, and the two companies are set to go head to head.

"We are not selling off our hardware business -- SPARC is fantastic technology and it can be even better with investment by increasing the rate of innovation," said Ellison, according to the TG Daily Web site. "If IBM wants to compete, we are happy to compete -- we intend to demonstrate that SPARC is the best [architecture] in the world."

Oracle's $7.4 billion acquisition of Sun sent shockwaves through the tech sector when it was announced earlier this year, taking the database software specialist into a completely new area. Although the MySQL database is seen by many as the jewel in Sun's crown, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based firm also sells a vast array of servers, storage and workstations.

Ellison reportedly said that Oracle now has a "huge opportunity" to design faster and more cost-effective systems by combining hardware and software.
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