Microsoft Corp. , the world's largest software maker, launched on Sunday its corporate database software program aimed at taking market share from Oracle Corp.
Microsoft's SQL Server 2005, delayed several times as engineers sought to make the software more reliable and secure, is a corporate database program designed to store and retrieve business data.
Apart from databases, both Microsoft and Oracle are investing in business software, which allows companies to track customer accounts, manage payroll, finances and human resources.
Along with SQL (pronounced "sequel") Server, Microsoft also launched Visual Studio 2005, a software tools program used to create applications, and said it would launch a program for tracking business processes, called BizTalk Server 2006, next year.
"These three together continue to provide much better capabilities for the biggest enterprises," said Microsoft vice president Steve Guggenheimer. "For enterprise customers (these) give them another reason to look at Microsoft technology."
In order to promote the use of SQL Server and Visual Studio, Microsoft also said that it would offer free versions of the two programs for personal use so that individuals can create their own databases, Web sites and software programs.
The launch of SQL Server kicks off a busy year of product launches for Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft.
Later this month, Microsoft will start selling Xbox 360, its newest-generation video game machine, and is planning to launch next year new versions of its Windows and Office software.