Oracle licensing changes anger clients

Oracle, the world's largest database-software maker, angered customers by changing the terms of existing license agreements to make them pay more, Meta Group analyst Mark Shainman said.

Eight customers called Shainman in February to complain that Oracle said they had to buy additional licenses or switch to another pricing plan, he said. Oracle told one customer it would have to pay $2.2 million more, said Shainman, who advises companies on negotiating software contracts.

Oracle's sales have fallen for four straight quarters. The company said last week that sales of new software licenses tumbled 29 percent in its third quarter, which ended Feb. 28. Corporate customers have held off on purchases as they wait for the economy to pick up, and rivals International Business Machines and Microsoft have undercut Oracle's prices.

''Oracle is digging for revenue,'' Shainman said. ''We told (clients) to push back on it.''

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