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BEA shifts some multicore pricing

Middleware supplier BEA says it won't use 'premium pricing' for dual-core processors but keeps a 25 percent premium for chips with more than two cores

BEA has dropped the 25 percent premium it was charging for the use of its software on dual-core systems.

Making the announcement on Tuesday, the middleware supplier emphasised that the shift in price applied to all system running dual-core chips, including those from Intel, AMD and Sun.

But the company will continue to charge a 25 percent premium for systems using processors with more than two cores.

Since their introduction, dual-core and multicore processors have attracted controversy, largely because suppliers have had difficulty pricing them.

A dual-core processor can run software faster than a single-core system so some companies, such as Oracle, have applied a performance premium to the price of their software. Others, such as Microsoft, have decided not to charge any more.

In July, Oracle reduced its premium on dual-core processors, saying it would charge 75 percent of the price of a license for a single core system for each core in a multi-core processor. Last week, virtual infrastructure software supplier VMware said it would not charge a premium for dual-core chips.

BEA was at pains to point out that this announcement would only apply to dual-core pricing. "This is a very specific and very targeted announcement," Martin Percival, BEA's principal technologist, told ZDNet UK. "It is very much focused on dual core."

Multicore systems with four or more processors offer "huge advantages in performance", which is why BEA will retain its 25 percent premium, Percival said. IBM has given the same reason for retained premium pricing on multicore Power systems. Percival maintains that the price cut decision on dual-core systems was "very different from some of the others" in the market.

The removal of the premium will apply to all BEA products, the company said.

"The elimination of premium pricing for dual-core systems underlies our commitment to providing a competitive pricing advantage against other higher priced solutions in the market," said Bill Roth, vice-president of product marketing at BEA, in a statement. "Our new restructured pricing... articulates our leadership position regarding the issue of dual-core pricing."