More Oracle Pricing Concerns Surface

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2002-03-27
Another major IT market research firm is decrying database pricing practices at Oracle Corp., saying that the software companys sales people are imposing extra license fees on some of its clients.

Gartner Inc., of Stamford, Conn., this week warned its clients of tactics by Oracle sales people that include making customers choose more expensive pricing options, selling more licenses than customers will use, attempting to garner additional fees for data warehousing and performing bottom-up audits that occasionally lead to increased licensing costs. Gartner, in the report, did not state how many of its clients have reported these issues.

"Gartner understands that in an attempt to lift revenue, some Oracle sales staff are imposing extraneous licensing fees on customers," the report states. "Although Oracles corporate management may not condone this practice, Gartner believes these reported fee impositions are highly inappropriate."

Gartners warning comes a week after another IT research company, Meta Group Inc., urged clients to fight attempts by Oracle to get as many as nine clients to pay extra fees for batch feeds of data that enter a data warehouse. Meta analysts said that Oracle named-user licenses did not require customers to count as users those using applications that feed data into batch processes, but Oracle responded that it had consistently charged for such users. Oracle officials, in Redwood Shores, Calif., said they would grandfather customers in the dispute from paying the fees.

Gartners warning, though, goes beyond the specific pricing dispute made public by Meta Group last week. It also mentions that Oracle representatives are trying to get extra named user and processor fees for data warehouses. At the same time, Gartner reports that customers are being forced to pick the more expensive of Oracles two database pricing options—named user or per processor.

"Oracle management does not condone or encourage the type of sales force behavior that is mentioned in this analyst report," said George Roberts, Oracles executive vice president of North American Sales, in a statement. "Oracle has an ongoing commitment to improving business practices and it is a top priority for our sales force to always consider customers needs first, regardless of the economic climate."

Gartner urged clients that experienced pricing problems to get in touch with Roberts. Oracle officials also urged customers with concerns to contact senior sales executives or e-mail specific questions about pricing and licensing to

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