Ellison rolls up his sleeves and offers to take Gartner 'outside'...Oracle has launch an unprecedented attack on research consultancy Gartner, slamming a lack of integrity on Gartner's part. An article on the Oracle website attacks the treatment it got in a recent Gartner report, throwing doubt on the research house's integrity. The article says: "Market research companies are supposed to provide unbiased thought leadership. This report is another example of how Gartner has a documented bias against Oracle in its coverage." The Gartner report attacked Oracle's relationships with the channel partners for its services business, its earnings and its conference strategy. In response, Oracle accused Gartner of writing "a piece of marketing disguised as research". The Oracle article continues: "The fact that the report is being given away free on Gartner's website, but has references throughout, to other Gartner reports that are available through subscription only, could indicate ulterior motives." This will surprise few people: naturally, free research and white papers are generally produced as flyers to promote paid-for services such as research and consulting. The astonishing thing is the fact that Oracle has chosen to publish an in-depth and sustained assault on Gartner. Spats between vendors and research companies are common, and many senior executives resent the power analysts like Gartner have to influence their customers. Once a senior executive of a Canadian IT company even described analysts as a "cartel", but battles between them and vendors usually take place behind closed doors. Earlier this year silicon.com conducted an extensive investigation into the dubious practices of analysts, which uncovered significant evidence that the impartiality of many analysts could indeed be questioned. However, Gartner was one of the firms which came out best in the research. Gartner, in fact, has often been outspokenly critical of powerful software and hardware vendors, in particular Microsoft. Gartner was one of the few analysts that dared to advise firms against implementing Windows 2000. It seems that Oracle's grasp of reality is the less sure of the two. For example, Gartner's report criticised Oracle for failing to support its independent user group, the OAUG. Oracle claims the dispute with OAUG has been resolved, but that does not appear to be the case. An OAUG spokeswoman confirmed the request, which spawned the dispute, for between 50 and 70 Oracle developers to attend their conferences, has not been met. Neither Oracle nor Gartner were able comment.