We are very picky when it comes to acquisitions. There are 20 engineers (at Indicast) we want to keep.Jacob Christfort, CTO and Vice President of Oracle Mobile's division
The announcement of Oracle's acquisition of Indicast generated more than 25 articles in top business, trade and online publications like The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Bloomberg, IDG, CNet and InfoWorld. The acquisition was well-received and generated interest from the media and industry analysts on Oracle's overall wireless strategy as well as its plans to integrate this new voice technology into Oracle9i Application Server, giving Oracle a significant advantage over IBM and BEA.
With the combination of Oracle9i Application Server and the Indicast voice portal technology, Oracle will have a significant advantage among software providers in its ability to offer an integrated solution for Web, wireless or voice access to data and information.Yankee Group
The news even made it to Amsterdam during CEO Larry Ellison's keynote at Oracle Application World where the first question from the audience was about the acquisition and Oracle's wireless strategy.
This will be a real boon to customers whether they plan to provide voice access today or want to leave the door open for voice access tomorrow. It follows then, that the acquisition and subsequent integration of Indicast assets would seem to give Oracle a boost over rival application servers made by IBM, HP, Sun, and Microsoft.Internet.com
San Francisco Business Times
January 15, 2002
Oracle said on Tuesday it acquired Indicast, a Carlsbad-based voice technology company, for an undisclosed sum. The move is an unusual one for Oracle — the database software company has only done one other acquisition since 1999 — but signals progress toward making all Oracle applications accessible via wireless voice interfaces as CEO Larry Ellison promised last year.
"We are very picky when it comes to acquisitions." said Jacob Christfort, CTO and vice president of Oracle Mobile's division. "There are 20 engineers (at Indicast) we want to keep."
Christfort indicated all Indicast employees will be retained. Although the voice technologies are slated for application across Oracle's product offerings, a large portion of the brain trust will likely go to enhancing Oracle's partnership with Wingcast.
A joint venture between Ford Motors and Qualcomm, Wingcast struck a deal with Oracle last summer — and Oracle committed 1,000 employees — to the task of creating voice activated e-mail, driving directions and other applications in Ford and Nissan cars by 2002.
That date has since been pushed to the 2003 models.
Christfort emphasized that Oracle Mobile has been building its voice technology offerings in the two years since it launched and, combined with Indicast, Oracle will be able to offer high tech gadgetry on mainstream cars. "This is the information age. It seems silly we should have to listen to a programmed station. You should be able to go into your car and listen to a radio program with your own content."
Acquisition Further Extends Oracle's Comprehensive Wireless and Voice Solutions
January 16, 2002
Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ: ORCL), the world's largest enterprise software company, today announced that it has acquired the intellectual property and technology assets of voice technology company Indicast Corporation, a San Diego, Calif. based provider of open, standards-based voice portal technology. The acquisition reflects Oracle's continued effort to provide carrier and enterprise customers with full voice and wireless access to any Internet application, enterprise data or enterprise application. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The Indicast technology is also expected to accelerate the voice enablement of the Oracle E-Business Suite and Oracle Online Services such as my.oracle.com.
"Companies and carriers alike can no longer afford to approach voice access as a separate IT effort," said David Berndt, director of Wireless Mobile Technologies at the Yankee Group. "With the combination of Oracle9i Application Server and the Indicast voice portal technology, Oracle will have a significant advantage among software providers in its ability to offer an integrated solution for Web, wireless or voice access to data and information. This will be a real boon to customers whether they plan to provide voice access today or want to leave the door open for voice access tomorrow."
Berndt concluded: "It follows then, that the acquisition and subsequent integration of Indicast assets would seem to give Oracle a boost over rival application servers made by IBM, HP, Sun, and Microsoft."
Unmatched Voice Technology: With the acquisition of the Indicast patent-pending technology and expertise in voice-enabled applications, Oracle customers are expected to benefit from the industry's most comprehensive voice solution, including:
Out-of-the-Box Voice Portal Framework: By integrating Indicast's complete set of voice server technologies, Oracle can offer private-label "out-of-the-box" voice portals.
VoiceXML Session Enhancement: This execution tracing mechanism enables continuous sessions across phone calls, data mining, advanced personalization, content tracking, and many other features previously not available in an open-standards based application server.
Voice Content and Adapters: Indicast's content adapters and concatenated speech engine provide a variety of ready-to-go, professionally recorded audio content and services including news feeds, weather, traffic and economic reports.
Voice Engine: Indicast's patent-pending voice engine technology enables end users to interact as much, or as little as they like, while enjoying content 100% relevant to their listening preferences.
100% Open Standards Compliant: Indicast's 100% VoiceXML voice applications can be run on any VoiceXML voice gateway, thereby enabling Oracle's customers to select best-of-breed voice platforms and speech technologies.
"Oracle's commitment to provide a complete solution for wireless and voice applications is unmatched," said Denise Lahey, senior vice president of Oracle's mobile products and services division. "With the acquisition of the Indicast technology, Oracle is set to deliver an unprecedented level of voice access technology in an open, J2EE application server."
The 451 Group, by Steve Coplan
January 22, 2002
Oracle has acquired voice portal provider Indicast, a move that will shore up its wireless application platform, provide it with small-scale hosting capabilities and allow it to integrate some VoiceXML call control software into its 9i application server.
The Indicast acquisition gives Oracle the technology for a slicker voice user interface - distilled from Indicast's private-label business - and recorded audio feeds, rather than the synthesized technology Oracle had been using.
Indicast was the first voice portal to sign a deal with a wireless service provider, inking an agreement with tier-two carrier Centennial Communications in January of last year. The company has also inked plenty of partnerships, since its audio feeds from multiple content sources turned out to be an asset for players like Comverse looking to build mass-market applications.
With the acquisition, it appears Indicast is leaving the consumer market behind. While Oracle claims they are "not de-emphasizing" the carrier market, the technology is now clearly being applied to Oracle''s enterprise applications.
Oracle also now has the capability to offer small-scale hosting. Since enterprises and carriers would prefer to be able to test the applications on a trial basis, rather than commit to a large-scale deployment, hosting is an important element in the sales process. Once the Indicast technology is integrated into 9i, Oracle could look into building a customer premise equipment product that would reside behind firewalls at enterprises and carriers.
Since the company has plenty of experience integrating its application server with legacy systems at enterprises and with operational support systems at carriers, Christfort believes it has an advantage over voice application provider startups, particularly when it comes to issues of security.
The move to acquire further in-house voice expertise is likely to unsettle those responsible for IBM's WebSphere fortunes. IBM has partnered with General Magic to integrate its Java-based magicTalk enterprise platform with IBM's WebSphere Voice Server middleware. General Magic has plenty of experience in voice user interfaces, but its J2EE development capabilities are less clear. Oracle now has more control over the application development cycle.
The Indicast acquisition is an indication that Oracle is getting more serious about adding voice capabilities to its software, and it will be interesting to see how much of the technology it can integrate into the next version of 9i. The move could also mark the company's entry into the voice application developer market, and more competition for the likes of Tellme.
Oracle yesterday said it bought the voice software technology of Indicast. This deal will bolster Oracle's reach into the voice and wireless spaces. Financial details of the deal were not released. Oracle will begin to offer Indicast's voice products as a hosted service. The company also plans to roll out such services as voice portals, voice email, and voice-driven Internet and business-related content for its enterprise clients. The software will also give voice access to Oracle's application server.