Oracle to publish pricing guide this month

Oracle Corp. plans to release a user guide to its software licensing scheme on Aug. 28, just a few weeks later than it originally promised.

The “Software Investment Guide,” a project headed by Oracle’s Vice-President of Global Pricing and Licensing Strategy Jacqueline Woods, is to clear up confusion among users about Oracle’s licensing policies. Woods first discussed the guide at the European OracleWorld conference in Copenhagen in June. Oracle then said the guide would be out in late July or early August.

Tighter budgets have forced IT buyers to become savvier about licensing, a discipline where the rules often seem “murky and cumbersome,” Oracle said in a statement announcing the pricing guide. Buyers need to be able to compare products and licensing options and that is what the guide will help them do, according to Oracle.

The guide, structured as a “how-to” document, will provide key details on Oracle’s pricing and licensing policies as well as licensing examples. Information on pricing for Oracle’s support, outsourcing, consulting and education offerings is also included, Oracle said.

Oracle’s licensing policies have been a subject of debate this year. The company announced simplified flat-fee pricing for its 11i E-Business Suite of applications in January, but then said users had to spend at least US$250,000 to qualify. In March, analysts from Gartner Inc. and Meta Group Inc. criticized Oracle’s database sales tactics. Customers were being asked to pay more money because of a clause in named-user contracts.

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