"Now, Ellison is bracing for what may be the biggest fight with
his nemesis. Gates, 47, has been improving his once-feeble database
software and selling it to the likes of grocery store chain
Albertson's Inc. and casino operator MGM Mirage. Customers can use
the software to store records on employees, sales and supplies.
"Yesterday, Microsoft shipped a version of its database software
for the Itanium, the most powerful chip from Intel Corp., the
world's biggest semiconductor maker. In short, Gates is going
straight for Oracle's heart.
"Ellison, 58, is counterattacking via Linux, an operating system
designed by Finnish programmer Linus Torvalds in 1991 and
distributed free to anyone who wants it. Ellison's strategy is to
get companies to adopt Linux instead of Microsoft's Windows.
"Why Linux? First, because 9 percent of all servers that
computer makers shipped last year used it--up from 6.5 percent in
2001, according to research firm Gartner Inc. And second, because
users of Linux have no reason to buy Microsoft's database software,
which runs only on Windows..."