The Oracle "monopoly"

The Oracle "monopoly"

Summary: In the end open source is a bit like water. It flows no matter what you do. Oracle is going to learn that, but it will take time.

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TOPICS: Oracle
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Oracle's business model in recent years has been to roll-up (buy-out) its competition and then charge monopoly rents.

This has worked, for Oracle, with big customers. If you need big databases, backed by professional support, you really have two choices these days -- Oracle and SAP. To call that an open market is like saying Coke and Pepsi are an open market.

They're not. Coke and Pepsi represent a duopoly. Prices are nowhere in line with costs. A can of fizzy water costs pennies to make yet sells for $1 or more. This is true in many industries -- I mention Coke mainly because I live in Atlanta.

I also mention Coke because its duopoly is under attack. There are some forces that can't be controlled anymore. Nationalism, for one. WalMart, for another.

Open source represents the same kind of problem for Oracle. Oracle, of course, also has an open source strategy, which includes free downloads of code, and it's a strategy, not a giveaway.

This has many people in the open source community worried.

Last week, for instance,  Business Week reported that Oracle is trying to end the threat by buying open source competitors. It owns InnoDB, popular for injecting data into mySQL. It's reportedly after Zend, JBOSS and Sleepycat.

But would that kill the threat? Not really. IBM is moving in the same direction as Oracle with DB2. A February 2005 survey of developers and database administrators found that 64% use an Open Source database. And you don't have to inject data into a mySQL set-up with InnoDB.

In the end open source is a bit like water. It flows no matter what you do. Oracle is going to learn that, but it will take time.

Topic: Oracle

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  • Open source vs. Free source

    "Open source represents the same kind of problem for Oracle.
    Oracle, of course, also has an open source strategy, which includes
    free downloads of code, and it's a strategy, not a giveaway."

    No, open source is not downloading code for free (that's free
    source). Open souce means you can modify that code to your
    liking, while adhering to its license (let it be GPL, BSD or whatever).
    felipe_alfaro@...
    • re: Open source vs. Free source

      I think Stallman roughly defines open source as "source code available to anyone" and free software as "open source with freedom".

      http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-software-for-freedom.html
      dtfinch
  • Confused?

    "If you need big databases, backed by professional support, you
    really have two choices these days ? Oracle and SAP."

    What like SAP's MaxDB, now open source with the folks at
    MySQL? How did that get in there?

    The database market is one of the most competitive of all in IT.
    A number of solutions exist in this field including IBM's DB2 for
    the enterprise.

    Next tier down you could use MySQL or MaxDB (both with
    professional support) or SQL Server (if you really wanted to).

    All these players have free "express" versions of their product as
    well.

    Look supporting an enterprise on wither DB2 or Oracle is going
    to be expensive. This is because the support both offer is
    expensive. Further competition isn't going to bring this down
    without a drop in support levels (e.g. express versions have no
    support).
    Richard Flude
    • SAP DB is not that good...

      SAPDB was the database that OSDL started testing the linux kernel on. What they found out was that it's a slow, medicore database. They now test with PostgreSQL.

      If you need a big, commercially backed database, Oracle, DB2, Teradata, Sybase, and PostgreSQL are the most likely choices. SAP DB is not commonly chosen for heavy lifting applications. Even Ingres II is a better choice than SAP DB.

      And if you don't think PostgreSQL can handle most heavy lifting situations, you haven't tested the new 8.1 series, which is VERY impressive performance-wise.
      Sxooter_z
  • the open source anti-competitive action

    What monopoly are you talking about. Even going by market share numbers Oracle has less than 30+% of the database market.

    1) reasearchers get grants from the US govt ( and other sources too) and they contribute to open source.

    How is this fair competition.
    Isnt this subsidising open source.
    zzz1234567890