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Microsoft and Oracle Join Forces Against Smaller Rivals

Microsoft and Oracle on Monday announced a tie-up to give the once-fierce rivals an advantage against newer, Web-based cloud computing companies chipping away at their businesses.

The two industry leaders have vied with one another for decades to sell technology to the world's largest companies. But they face growing pressure from more-nimble competitors selling often-cheaper services based in remote data centers, and they are moving to adapt.

Under the agreement, customers will be able to run Oracle software on Microsoft's Server Hyper-V and on Windows Azure platforms, the companies said. Microsoft will offer Oracle's Java, Database and WebLogic Server to Azure customers, and Oracle will make its Linux available to Azure customers, the companies said in a news release.

No. 3 software maker Oracle missed expectations for software sales for the fourth quarter, sending its shares plunging last week. Investors worried that the company may have trouble competing with providers such as Salesforce.com and Workday, as well as Amazon.com, which has also become a major player in cloud-computing infrastructure.

Top software maker Microsoft has a large-scale cloud-computing initiative, Azure, that has failed to catch up with Amazon's AWS (Amazon Web Services).

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