IBMs Ad Attacking Oracle Omits Migration Costs

IBM's attempt to woo Oracle users amounts to FUD, but it's a useful reminder that now's the time-at the end of Oracle's fiscal year-to drive hard bargains.

I loved the "May Day! May Day!" ad IBM took out in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times last Friday and earlier this week.

In the ad, here in PDF form, IBM offers to "rescue" Oracle users from voracious Oracle sales reps as Oracle nears the end of its fiscal year. The season "usually brings constant calls from your Oracle sales team," IBM reminds us in the ad.

"Come next year, Oracles current levels of support of 8i vanish, and youre relegated to second-tier support," the ad continues, "which means limited support at a higher cost. As we speak, theyve already eliminated patches for this installed database. Any way you look at it, youre stuck. This is fallout from eagerness to shift you to Oracles new 10g database."

The ad continues on in a delightfully snotty way, suggesting that now is the time to re-evaluate IBM DB2 Universal Database and IBM DB2 support.

Its so snotty, its like something that only a huge, arrogant database behemoth would think up—say, a few years back, before such a company might have launched, say, a campaign to swallow a rival and therefore attempted to clean up its bratty image and gain the affection of stockholders and judges.

Sound familiar? Sound like Oracle? Bingo! IBM has learned from the masters how to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt.

In this particular FUD campaign, IBM is trying to get at Oracle customers who are "in the throes of renegotiating software, software support, or thinking of augmenting" their current database.

Its a nice try, but the bottom line is that its easier to go from an Oracle database to an Oracle database than it is to go to IBM, regardless of what good tools IBM has in place to help with the migration.

/zimages/5/28571.gifClick here to read about IBMs DB2 upgrade.

As noted to me recently by analysts including Colleen Graham at Gartner Dataquest and Mike Schiff, vice president of business intelligence and e-business at Current Analysis, its tough to change databases.

Customers look at issues of cost and support before they buy, not at a point when support gets taken away for an aging database thats already been superceded by two major releases.

True, lots of customers still run successful Oracle8i implementations, but the fact that Oracle will desupport 8i next year hardly comes as a surprise. Weve seen Oracle9i, Oracle9i Release 2 and Oracle 10g in past years. As Schiff pointed out to me, "You cant expect a company to support something forever."

Next page: Nows the time to get hefty Oracle discounts.