Less than 12 months after Whitehill Technologies was acquired by Skywire Software, the business has changed hands again, with Oracle buying Skywire's application software operations. Although the deal is unlikely to be finalised (after securing regulatory and shareholder approvals) until later this year, Oracle are confident most of Skywire's management and staff will stay with the company.

In terms of what impact this will have on Skywire's legal market business – the answer is 'not a lot'. Although Oracle seems to have purchased Skywire primarily for its insurance industry business, the new owners say Skywire's 'customer communication management and document automation capabilities' (in otherwords the Whitehill BPM stuff) will complement Oracle's enterprise content management business. And it is also worth noting that Skywire/Whitehill currently has about 700 law firm customers (including about two-thirds of the global 250) either using Whitehill software directly or indirectly through an OEM deal with Thomson Elite* so Oracle is unlikely to risk upsetting this customer base.

In the UK, the systems house Saturn 27 says that as of yesterday it was still business as usual in terms of their reseller and consultancy partnership relationship with Skywire, which largely focuses on the Whitehill One system for law firms.

* Firms running the Elite Enterprise product Document Studio to create their bills are in fact using an OEM version of Whitehill's software. There are also unconfirmed reports that a similar OEM deal is on the cards for 3E.