Oracle remains committed to growth via acquisition, according to President Charles Phillips. The strategy is proving to be a cost-effective way for the company to extend its technologies as well as deepen its knowledge of specific industries, he told attendees at Oracle\u2019s OpenWorld conference Sunday in San Francisco.Over the past two years, Oracle has opened its wallet on more than 20 occasions to pick up vendors both large and small, particularly in the applications and security software markets.As a way to reassure any customers concerned about Oracle\u2019s spending, Phillips said the software vendor can afford to keep making more purchases because it can quickly broaden the appeal of the products it acquires due to its size as well as easily assimilate the acquisitions into its own simplified back-office systems.Phillips also explained how making acquisitions benefits Oracle. "We get proven R&D, which supplements what we\u2019ve already invested in," he said. "We also get industry experts with decades of experience\u2014a phenomenal asset for us."Oracle\u2019s current mission is to "redefine how people use and think about enterprise software," Phillips said, with the company\u2019s Fusion middleware lying at the heart of that focus for both Oracle\u2019s existing applications and its planned new Fusion applications suite, due to appear in 2008. He added that the software industry has "never had a true test of what would happen" if a company continued to support and enhance its existing applications as well as debut a brand-new set of applications such as Fusion."It\u2019s unclear how it will play out," Phillips said. "It doesn\u2019t matter; we can afford it."Oracle is working on new security capabilities beyond simple role-based security for applications, according to Phillips. What the vendor hopes to make possible in the future is the "hot" deployment of patches to its software\u2014in other words, fixing a bug in a program on the fly without requiring any computer downtime.Phillips previewed two upcoming OpenWorld announcements: the unveiling of Configuration Support Manager and the Oracle Accelerate program.Part of Oracle\u2019s Premium Support plan, Configuration Support Manager brings together all the configuration information about a customer\u2019s IT setup, such as the version of the database being used, into a single place. That way, Oracle support staff can securely access that data to resolve IT issues quickly. Oracle has been beta testing the service with several hundred customers, Phillips said.Accelerate is a new initiative based on Oracle\u2019s business accelerators focused on small to midsize businesses and governments to help speed up software development by providing help in determining system flows.The liveliest part of Phillips\u2019 somewhat downbeat address came at the very start, as the Oracle president dribbled a basketball onto the stage and proceeded to score a point. The reason for the hoops setup was Oracle acquiring the naming rights to the Oakland Arena, home to the Golden State Warriors basketball team. Under the terms of a 10-year agreement between the IT vendor and the National Basketball Association club, the arena will now be known as The Oracle. The parties didn\u2019t disclose the financial details of the deal.-China Martens, IDG News Service (Boston Bureau)Related Links:\n\nOracle Buys Data Integration Firm Sunopsis\n\nOracle Releases 1st Portal Product Since Acquisition\n\nOracle Simplifies Its Patch Process\n\nOracle Pays $98.5M to Settle PeopleSoft ChargesCheck out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.