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Re: Oracle's Greed [high training costs]

From: Eric D. Pierce <>
Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2000 10:16:09 -0700
Message-Id: <>

Some random thoughts:

There is no doubt about the greed, it is actually so spectacular that it can be fascinating on some levels, perhaps even to the point where it can be seen to have a sort of perverse beauty in a narrow context.

Various things about Oracle's training "architecture" make it unsuitable for some customers, but...... conventional wisdom would probably hold that they charge a lot because "that is what the market will bear". Also, consumer expectation may play a role. eg, consumers with lots of money would rather go to Nordstrom's than WalMart because they *like* making an "emotional investment" in the value of a Nordstrom product.

/* Oracle's roots are *not* originally in mass market software. */

Oracle was originally developed and marketed as a *competitive* "mid range" alternative to the kind of expensive, proprietary, closedsystem,  high-performance/reliability (etc.) products that were dominant in the old mainframe-centric days. But mid-range
"alternative" products were still developed primarily in the context
of what I call the tech/engineering community's "purist" (R&D) perspective/ideology. Which is where there has been a lot of solidarity about the need to resist the rise of the dreaded, low quality, low-end mass market PC stuff (Microsoft, etc.)

I think if you examine the groaning and moaning that happened when Oracle raised the priority of support for the Windows platform in the early/mid-1990s, it reveals the two ends of the spectrum of Oracle's
"corporate culture". They are trying to have their cake and eat it
too. They want to do both "purist" and "mass market" stuff. Marketing hype transcends ideological differences in the tech community. Unfortunately for people whose industry experience primarily comes out of exposure to mass market computer products, some of the
"purist" elements of Oracle's corporate culture can be confusing,
unpleasant, etc.

I personally would be tempted to think that Oracle ought to charge for training somewhat proportionally to the cost of the product, but then a mainframe shop would be able to "beat the system" by spending <=$3000 on a low end NT (or Linux...) server, also spend relatively little buying the RDBMS for it, and use that as the basis for buying
"cheap" DBA and Developer training (well, at least
beginner/intermediate level stuff) which could then be largely transferred to use on high end systems. Of course Oracle could attempt to "police" such sites, but that would probably be seen by customers as even more of an outrage than current high training costs.

Don't forget that besides having potential for huge profits and market gains, the tech sector is high risk for business people. Larry lost something like 40 billion in stock valuation within a short period of time a couple of years ago when the asian markets dropped (supposedly a lot of Oracle's short term market expansion at that point had been into asian telecommunications). Lucky for him, Oracle was able to retool its marketing and product line pretty fast to take advantage of the internet boom in the USA.

Anyway, did you ask for a discount? Can you make a business case (to Oracle) for getting a discount?

Speaking of business cases, did the people at your organization that chose to buy & use Oracle know that the downstream training costs were high? If so, why is there a problem?

Also (at least to some extent), unlike Microsoft, aren't there legitimate, cost effective alternatives to Oracle in the RDBMS market?

BTW, if you are an independent vendor/consultant, aren't there some organizations that you can join for about $500/year that offer some pretty good "alternative" training materials & resources?


On 26 Jul 2000, at 16:40, wrote:

Date sent:      	Wed, 26 Jul 2000 16:40:43 -0800
To:             	Multiple recipients of list ORACLE-L <>
Subject:        	Oracle's Greed
Received on Thu Jul 27 2000 - 12:16:09 CDT

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