Oracle and Telstra are tipped to partner in an application service provider (ASP) deal that will be the largest in the Asia-Pacific region.
Telstra executives were meeting with Oracle CEO Larry Ellison in the US last week, ostensibly to talk about Web TV. But insiders at Oracle Openworld in Brisbane last week said an ASP deal is as close as two weeks, though several months were seen as more likely.
In Europe recently, Ellison, who has been pushing the ASP bandwagon for more than a year, spoke of an impending large deal with a major Australian telco. His comments weren't widely reported in this part of the world.
And Oracle marketers at Openworld were certainly reinforcing the ASP message as the vendor positioned itself strongly in the e-commerce space.
Such a deal would have considerable implications for New Zealand where several vendors have spoken of ASP but no one has really delivered anything of substance yet.
It would make a strong offering for Telstra in both the New Zealand and Australian markets and put pressure on Telecom New Zealand to come up with something similar. Telstra is also widely expected to buy up to 60 per cent of New Zealand's second carrier Clear Communications, which is currently 100 per cent owned by British Telecommunications PLC (BT).
The implications for Oracle are worldwide because the vendor has no strong alliance with the major telecommunications groupings. Telstra, on the other hand, is closely tied to Concert, the AT&T-BT partnership that grew out of World Partners when it was dissolved.
Telecom New Zealand is most likely to form links with Concert's opposition, MCI-Worldcom, which has a strategic relationship with EDS, to whom Telecom has outsourced its information technology.