Once bitten... By Dawn Kawamoto
Oracle hopes to rebound from the recent fiasco over a California software contract by making its global pricing policies public next week
Oracle, the world's second-biggest software maker, said on Wednesday it will make its global pricing policies public next week, in a move analysts said could benefit both the company and its customers.
Joshua Greenbaum, principal of industry research firm Enterprise Applications Consulting, said: "Pricing is one of the last frontiers of transparency in the software industry.
"They really are trying to make some sense out of what is a pretty complex set of products and buying options. The more the customer knows, the better [it is] for everybody."
Oracle officials said they had been planning to release company pricing policies, in a document called the "software investment guide," for some time and that the move is not in response to any particular incident.
Jacqueline Woods, Oracle's vice president of global practices, told Reuters: "It's not to address an issue. It's really to provide more information to people so they can make better business decisions."
The move, however, arrives hot on the heels of several high-profile news stories about Oracle's selling and pricing practises.
In July, California scrapped a $95m software contract with Oracle after a lengthy and highly politicised controversy over the deal's terms, and potential conflict of interest charges against senior aides to Governor Gray Davis (see http://www.silicon.com/a54785
In March, some Oracle customers complained that company representatives told them they were not paying enough for their use of the Oracle's data warehouse software, which creates reports from reams of information culled from various sources.
The negative publicity also came amid stubbornly weak corporate demand for technology products, prompting several analysts to question whether it might compound Oracle's woes at a time when sales at big high-tech shops already are hurting.
Mark Shainman, senior analyst at META Group, said: "I think it's a positive move. Oracle realises they don't want this to be a centrepiece issue when they deal with their clients. They want the centrepiece to be their technology and how sophisticated it is."
Dawn Kawamoto writes for News.com