Claims in advertising, no matter how outlandish they may seem, go unchallenged or are simply shrugged off every day as a normal part of capitalist culture.
However, this isn't the case with the TPC (Transaction Processing Performance Council), a nonprofit that checks on claims made in advertising that involve benchmarks for IT products.
As a result, enterprise middleware giant Oracle on Sept. 30 was fined $10,000 and directed to take corrective action after running an ad in The Wall Street Journal and The Economist claiming that "Sun + Oracle Is Faster" compared with a published TPC-C performance result from IBM.
Oracle's contention that its database server is faster than one from IBM using a benchmark result it claimed will be announced on Oct. 14 "is not supported because Oracle did not have a TPC result at the time of publication," the TPC said in a statement to the media.
The TPC-C benchmark is an often-used standard for comparing online transaction processing performance on various hardware and software configurations.
The TPC requires that claims based on TPC benchmarks must be demonstrable using publicly available data from official TPC benchmark results. Oracle did not meet that requirement, TPC spokesperson Michael Majdalany told eWEEK.
Oracle, among many other companies, commonly makes claims that its systems are faster than those of competitors. This is not the first time Oracle has been slapped with a fine and such an order to set the record straight, Majdalany told eWEEK.
"But in terms of the TPC's history, this is the first time we've decided to go public with that because we felt that in this case, the violation was serious enough that it warranted a public response from the TPC," Majdalany said. "There have been companies that have been found in violation in the past, and some of them have been fined as well."
Sun Microsystems was not deemed liable in this case. "This was strictly an Oracle ad, and it was on the Oracle Website," Majdalany said.
Oracle did not respond immediately to a request for comment.