If anyone thinks Oracle Corp is being distracted from its core database business by an apparent pre-occupation with network computers and applications, they’re dreaming, says SVP server technologies Jerry Held. It’s a view aired by new Informix Software Inc CEO Bob Fonnochio at a recent analyst briefing, who painted a picture of an Oracle as distracted by these concerns. Held, who believes the world is passing [Informix] by, says Oracle is firing on all cylinders; network computers, database, applications and the WebTone and Network Computing Architecture strategies. The assimilation of Oracle’s $50m Navio acquisition from Netscape Communications Corp into its Network Computing Inc subsidiary will be complete in a couple of days. Navio was working on cut-down Netscape Navigator implementations for non-PC devices, and Oracle says the unit will bring a strong consumer focus to NCI’s commercially-oriented NC Server and Desktop technologies. A first wave of network computer devices built to Oracle’s specifications and running NCI software such as DEC’s Shark are due in the fall. Low-priced consumer devices are being created by companies such as Thomson RCA and Zenith; first implementations are expected to be on retailers’ shelves in time for the Christmas buying season. Held says the company will be ready to disclose re-worked plans for the Sedona repository and object tools for use with Oracle8 in a few weeks, while some of the Java and object technologies missing from the initial cut of its object-relational database, including Java-based stored procedures, will feature in an 8.1 release in 1998. The biggest growth in the company’s research and development spending is going into Oracle Applications, now at release 10.7. Applications are expected to account for the lion’s share of Oracle’s business further down the road. Oracle says its server-centric view of the world, where complexity is taken off the desktop and pushed back onto servers, is concerned with plumbing technology that can drive infrastructure costs down and tools which can improve the operation of businesses. We’re in better shape than ever and have weaker competitors, says Held.