Oracle Guide Aims to Clear up Policies

Move follows criticism from industry analysts on Oracle's interpretation of licensing and pricing policies.

Oracle Corp. on Tuesday will release a promised pricing and licensing guide that company officials hope will help clear up customer confusion of its policies.

The guide, called the Oracle Software Investment Guide, offers about 40 pages of details on licensing and pricing policies and scenarios for Oracles database, application server, development tools and enterprise application software. The scope of the guide, originally intended to fit in about 15 pages, increased since Oracle officials first discussed it in June, said Jacqueline Woods, vice president of global licensing and pricing strategy, in Redwood Shores, Calif.

"We wanted to make sure we put out a comprehensive posting of what our pricing guidelines are and what the rules are for formulating pricing models to let customers make better software purchasing decisions," Woods said.

Oracle has faced criticism in the past from industry analysts for its interpretation of licensing and pricing policies. Earlier this summer the company was embroiled in a controversy over a state of California enterprise license for database software that ended in the termination of the $95 million deal.

The guide was originally supposed to come out in August but was delayed by vacation schedules of customers and partners from whom the company wanted to gain feedback, Woods said. Oracle has sought feedback on the guide from about 20 customers, users groups and industry and financial analysts, Woods said.

The online guide includes seven sections that cover everything from basic licensing concepts and migrations from older licensing models to new ones to detailed pricing scenarios for various products and the ability to download a price list.

Woods said she hopes it helps customers in this tough economy make better buying decisions, such as weighing the pros and cons of other licensing options like term licenses. With two-year term licenses, for instance, customers can pay 35 percent of the cost of a perpetual license, though they are wedded to a set time frame, while still receiving standard volume discounts.

Another common area of confusion is around how to license software when only using a portion of the nodes on symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) systems. Customers often will license all the processors on a 64-way machine, even though they only are running the software on a segment of it and could license it for those specific nodes, Woods said.

The Software Investment Guide will be an evolving document with changes as pricing and licensing changes or new issues arise, Woods said.

It will be available at www.oracle.com/corporate/pricing.

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