Oracle 'anti-competitive,' customers dissatisfied

Oracle 'anti-competitive,' customers dissatisfied

Summary: Oracle is being cast as anti-competitive by the SIA. An upcoming report indicates high levels of dis-satisfaction with its maintenance services. This is not a good time to be Oracle.

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TOPICS: Oracle
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The Services Industry Association is asking the Department of Justice to block Oracle's attempts to change support policies. PC World reports:

The SIA accused Oracle of making the changes in order to capture an estimated US$2.4 billion of business done by independent service organizations (ISOs) with Sun customers. It accused Oracle of pushing customers toward buying all their maintenance services from Oracle and of imposing requalification fees on customers that go to a third party for maintenance and later want to go back to Oracle.

The SIA wrote to Oracle with its complaints in May, according to documents on the group's website. In a response in June, Oracle rejected the allegations.

This could not come at a worse time for Oracle. In a court ruling made during the Oracle v SAP trial, (see PDF 986-6) it has been ordered that Oracle's internal 'At Risk Report' be admitted into evidence including statements made by customers as to why they might consider moving their maintenance to a third party provider.

In the ongoing case between Oracle and RiminiStreet, Seth Ravin, CEO RiminiStreet has told me on several occasions the company intends to argue that Oracle behaves in an anti-competitive manner. The action being taken by SIA can only add strength to that line of reasoning.

If that was not bad enough, Computer Economics will shortly reveal the results of a survey among 109 of Oracle's customers that talks to issues around Oracle maintenance.  I have seen a review copy that includes customer comments. My take is that it is devastating. From the advance media alert:

The study, Go-Forward Strategies for Oracle Application Customers, shows that 42% are dissatisfied with the quality of Oracle support, while 58% are dissatisfied with the cost of the support. The respondents include users of its E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft Enterprise, JD Edwards, Siebel, and Hyperion applications.

“Many customers are frustrated with navigating Oracle’s support system and the length of time it takes for Oracle to respond to support issues, and dissatisfaction with the cost of that support is even more widespread,” said Frank Scavo, president of Computer Economics.

In enterprise circles it is widely touted that Oracle customers live in fear of their provider but that few of them believe they can find a way of getting away from a company that is increasingly being seen as rapacious. Last evening, Narinder Singh, CMO Appirio Tweeted:

Oracle is the darth vader of tech - customers can't stand them but are afraid to stand up to the oppression

While this may be viewed by some as representing an outburst by a vendor competitor, there is truth in what Mr Singh says. I frequently hear Oracle customers looking for ways of loosening the ties they have to the company.

In the meantime Oracle is on a mission to ring fence its customers with a combination of hardware, software and services.

UPDATE: The Computer Economics report is now live.

[Disclosure: Frank Scavo is a partner with Constellation Research Group, I am an advisory board member for that organization.]

Topic: Oracle

Dennis Howlett

About Dennis Howlett

Dennis Howlett is a 40 year veteran in enterprise IT, working with companies large and small across many industries. He endeavors to inform buyers in a no-nonsense manner and spares no vendor that comes under his microscope.

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10 comments
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  • This is what too much .....

    market power does. MS has been there. Intel has been there. Apple may be heading there, as may Google.

    To all you irrational fan boys out there: Be careful what you wish for.
    Economister
    • RE: Industry group: Oracle 'anti-competitive,' customers dissatisfied

      @Economister:Agreed, though I would posit that Microsoft is still there. Apple I don't think will get there quite, unless their marketshare suddenly rockets up from 10% to, say, 60% (not seeing that happen any time soon). Intel is _still_ there in some aspects (servers, desktops), but not in others (mobile, tablets).

      Google I don't think is quite there yet, and doesn't quite have a lock-in angle in its main base of income (after all, anyone can switch search engines in a heartbeat).
      Random_Walk
  • RE: Industry group: Oracle 'anti-competitive,' customers dissatisfied

    Bill Gates must be laughing his guts out.

    I've used Oracle Software since 1988. While I STILL like the RDBMS a lot, I must agree with the article.
    Imprecator
    • RE: Industry group: Oracle 'anti-competitive,' customers dissatisfied

      @Imprecator Me too. I've been thinking it'd be a matter of time before this came up.
      snoop0x7b
  • RE: Industry group: Oracle 'anti-competitive,' customers dissatisfied

    I wonder what further damage oracle is going to do with java and mySQL.
    rengek
    • RE: Industry group: Oracle 'anti-competitive,' customers dissatisfied

      @rengek: To MySQL? Not a damned thing... it's too easy to fork and not license-encumbered like parts of Java are.

      I also don't see Oracle doing to Java what, say, Microsoft did to ActiveX, VisualBasic, etc... and at least with Java, there's still an out for the most part.
      Random_Walk
  • RE: Industry group: Oracle 'anti-competitive,' customers dissatisfied

    Oracle's policies towards customers are very poor when you realize they often over-licensed customers. So many of their products never get deployed and the customers are stuck paying maintenance on those unused products and the penalty to cancel is too much. So it is no surprise customers are not happy with the fees they pay.

    However, 3rd party support isn't new yet customers are still overwhelmingly staying with the vendor because the model has too many risks. How many CIO's will go off maintenance without a solid plan on what to do next even if they can save money for a few years? How many organizations want to contemplate putting in a new ERP system?

    Oracle is winning their case so far against Rimini Street. If you go to a third party and they go belly up you are in deep trouble and I'm guessing Oracle will make you pay back every dime to get support again.

    Let's see- SAP buys TomorrowNow. Oracle sues SAP for violating IP and will soon receive a nice big check after SAP admitted TN was violating IP. TomorrowNow people start Rimini Street. Oracle sues Rimini Street and starts to drain Rimini Street of cash to defend themselves. Courts throw out many of Rimini's claims and up hold most of Oracle's claims http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=100000002&as_vis=1&q=ORACLE+USA%2C+INC.+v.+RIMINI+STREET%2C+INC&btnG=Search The courts have ruled so far that Oracle is not uncompetitive in their behaviour so Rimini's defense doesn't look too good.

    Oracle apps customers are ticked off and Oracle doesn't care much for their customers but unless customers vote with their $$$ and leave why will Oracle change? It sure seems that third party maintenance is unlikely to prevail because they can't seem to operate without violating Oracle IP.
    Mookie99
  • this is just a smoke screen

    by M$ stooges to deflect attention.
    Linux Geek
  • If you're that miffed at Oracle...

    ...you can get the same scalability and real-time performance out of Postgres. That way you're not beholden to either Microsoft's clunky solution -or- Oracle's rapacious one.
    Random_Walk
  • Voting with your $$$

    If you operate an monopoly, than voting with your $$$ is not really an option. In fact the usual freedom the law provided a company should not even apply.
    andries.spies