Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison introduced Yahoo as the latest enterprise customer his Linux support programme has poached from Red Hat.

"We have replaced Red Hat at Yahoo as their Linux support supplier," Ellison said. Without naming other customers, he said some of the Linux support deals Oracle is signing are worth over $500,000.

Oracle has gotten off to a "very strong start" with its Enterprise Linux support programme for users, according to Ellison. He also said that several third parties will be offering the Oracle Red Hat Linux support including Dell and HP.

Ellison announced the programme back in October at Oracle's OpenWorld conference in San Francisco, but since then the company has declined to comment on the progress of the support offering aimed at both Oracle and non-Oracle users.

"This is just the beginning," he said during a conference call with analysts to discuss Oracle's third-quarter fiscal 2007 results. "We're not going to build a Linux business overnight, but we will build it. We're determined to offer the best support in the world."

Oracle had its fastest-growing third fiscal quarter in five years, according to Safra Catz, Oracle co-president and chief financial officer. Recent rumours suggesting that the quarter had been buoyed up by mega deals of $100 million were "simply not true," she said.

Oracle expects to close its planned $3.3 billion (£i.68bn) acquisition of business intelligence software vendor Hyperion Solutions in late April, Catz said.

Given the close date, Hyperion won't have much of an impact on Oracle's upcoming fourth-quarter financial results. "I feel very good about our prospects going into what's traditionally our strongest quarter," she said. However, as a caveat, Catz added that the fourth quarter of fiscal 2006 was a "blockbuster quarter" for Oracle and so might be hard to beat in fiscal 2007. She anticipates a fourth-quarter fiscal 2007 earnings per share (EPS) of $0.30.