Ellison Responds to Users, IBM

Computerworld's Dan Verton spoke with Oracle CEO Larry Ellison at the Redwood Shores, Calif., event at which Oracle9i and the company's new pricing program were announced.

Q: Is your move away from power-unit pricing an attempt to counter IBM or respond to users?
I think it's both. Our pricing was designed to make it as easy as possible to compare our pricing to IBM's pricing. IBM wants to compare prices. Let's compare prices.

Q: When you moved to Universal Power Unit pricing, you claimed it was to streamline pricing and make it more equitable for all users. Do you feel that by abandoning that approach in favor of per-processor pricing, you're maintaining that equitable, streamlined pricing approach?
IBM has made such a big stink about this. I keep reading in the newspaper about how we're four, five and six times more expensive, and that's just preposterous. The only issue that IBM has is the pricing issue, so let's get this issue behind us. You want processor-based pricing? We'll give you processor-based pricing.
We want to make a comparison between Oracle and IBM as easy as possible. It's simple: This is our price, $40,000 per processor. They're priced at $20,000 per processor, but look at all of the things that [DB2] doesn't include. They're getting you for every little thing. You start adding all this stuff up, and they're actually more expensive than we are. Isn't that a surprise? We're much more economical. Software price is just one component of total cost of ownership, which includes the software, the hardware, the network and the development of the application.

Q: Are you concerned about what has been called a potential e-business backlash from users who may not be ready to put all of their application eggs in the Oracle basket?
No. We're by far the most popular database with SAP, PeopleSoft or Siebel users. We've achieved the Holy Grail of database computing. Maybe the single most important thing to all of our customers is the issue of fault tolerance. The idea is that these applications just won't go down.

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