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Research company META Group Inc. is accusing Oracle Corp. of unfairly forcing database customers with named user licenses to either buy more licenses or convert to a more expensive processor-based licensing scheme.

Recently, Stamford, Conn.-based META Group issued a statement claiming it had recently received a “flurry of calls by angry Oracle customers” who were upset by the software vendor’s apparent decision to re-interpret some of the terms of named user licences. For the past year, pricing has been a major bone of contention between Oracle and its users. At the centre of the current controversy is how Oracle now defines multiplexing, according to META. This operation usually involves the use of a Web server or other application that uses a shared pool of connections to the database. It now appears Oracle is attempting to expand the definition of multiplexing to include batch feeds from non-Oracle applications into Oracle databases.

Oracle: hand over application management

Putting muscle behind the outsourcing model of application management, Oracle Corp. said it is starting an international campaign to persuade customers to hand over maintenance of their Oracle software.

Businesses can save on IT costs and improve product service response time by as much as 50 per cent by letting Oracle manage and maintain its own software, company officials said, citing costs savings of between 31 and 84 per cent from existing customers.

EMC chief sees HP/Compaq storage falling behind

As the merger of Hewlett-Packard and Compaq becomes a reality, EMC Corp. Executive Chairman Mike Ruettgers said that HP “hasn’t been as much of a factor as Compaq” in the storage market. But he said both HP and Compaq stand to lose ground against their storage competitors in the wake of the merger.

Ruettgers said that for HP/Compaq, the distraction of having huge, impending layoffs as a result of the merger will apply drag to HP/Compaq’s innovation, ultimately leaving them behind the storage technology curve. “After [the merger], much of the technology will be obsolete in both HP and Compaq,” Ruettgers said.

MS issues bulletin on Windows vulnerability

Microsoft Corp. issued its second bulletin in two weeks to Windows business users warning of a vulnerability to the Java Virtual Machine code. The new warning says that an attacker could place a Java applet on the victim’s machine that would allow the attacker to perform any task the victim was authorized to perform.

This is the second bulletin Microsoft has issued since March 4. The first warning told users that an attacker could redirect all Web traffic from a machine by placing a Java applet on the victim’s computer. That warning also said the attacker would be able to know where a victim was surfing on the Web, what actions the victim took and potentially capture the victim’s passwords and other secure information.

CERT warns IM users to beware of intruders

Tens of thousands of people have reportedly been tricked into downloading malicious software onto their computers from Internet Relay Chat and instant messaging, said an incident report released by the CERT Coordination Center at Carnegie Mellon University.

CERT, a Pittsburgh-based security research and information service, said the intruders then use the victims’ computers “as attack platforms for launching distributed denial-of-service attacks.” The CERT advisory said the messages often warn users that they have already been infected with a virus and instruct them to go to a Web address and download a program to clean their machine or face being banned from the IRC or IM system they’re using.

Judge omits key testimony in states’ case

In a potential blow to the litigating states’ case in the Microsoft Corp. antitrust case, District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly took a hard line with the states’ attorneys regarding what testimony she will and will not allow in the remedy hearing that began recently.

Kollar-Kotelly, who is tasked with deciding which remedies Microsoft should endure for anti-competitive behaviour in the desktop PC operating system market, struck from the court record over a dozen paragraphs in the direct testimony of a key states’ witness, claiming that the text was laden with hearsay.

E-mail marketing irresistible: Gartner

E-mail marketing campaigns are faster, cheaper and more effective than direct mail campaigns and will ultimately supersede them, according to a study from market research company Gartner Inc.

The most effective form of e-mail marketing is permission-based, which gets a reader response of between six per cent and eight per cent, Gartner reported recently. Non permission-based e-mail marketing, commonly known as spam, receives a response rate of one per cent, about the same as direct postal mail campaigns, Gartner said.

Jupiter Media Forum: you’re a niche player

Brick-and-mortar content providers hoping to conquer the Internet with their unique offerings got a sobering surprise at Jupiter Media Metrix Inc.’s Media Forum in New York recently: it won’t happen.

That was the message from keynote speaker Peter Winter, president of Cox Interactive Media, who took pains to inform the crowd that they had already lost out to the Internet’s axis of power: Yahoo Inc., Microsoft Corp. Network and America Online Inc. “MSN, Yahoo and AOL have already won and everyone else is running a niche,” Winter said.

Users see benefits, risks in Sun vs. Microsoft suit

Sun Microsystems Inc. CEO Scott McNealy, who studied antitrust issues as an economics major at Harvard University, has been among the industry’s most vocal critics of Microsoft Corp.

The lawsuit it filed earlier this March against Microsoft is very broad, alleging a range of antitrust violations that revive some claims dropped by the U.S. Department of Justice, such as the charge of illegally tying the browser to the operating system. The lawsuit also expands the antitrust claims to the server market and Microsoft’s .Net architecture. Sun is seeking more than US$1 billion in damages.

HP, Sun mend platform SPINE

Attempting to plug a critical hole exposed by the development of Web services, Sun Microsystems Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. have joined forces to create a management platform for Web services environments.

Labelled SPINE (Service Provider Infrastructure Network Environment), the Sun ONE-enabled prototype automates the event and transaction monitoring, performance, and usage measurement services of HP OpenView across networks, applications and services.

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