Oracle users can replace Oracle 7.3.3 or earlier unsupported versions with new Year 2000 compliant software, including Oracle8i, under a free Upgrade 2000 programme.
The scheme enables Oracle to avoid a potential support nightmare as the Year 2000 approaches.
IDC's research director, Carl Olofson described Upgrade 2000 as a win-win proposition: "It enables customers to avoid very serious problems, while enabling Oracle to retain potentially thousands of customers and bring them back into the mainstream Oracle user community."
Jenny Searle, Oracle UK's Year 2000 manager, said that the formal programme runs for 60 days from the end of March but will continue if there is ongoing demand. "The number of potential customers is around 3,000 in Emea [Europe, Middle East and Africa], 6,000 worldwide," she said.
Oracle will provide the upgrade free of charge but associated support and migration services will be costed, so the business opportunity is not insignificant.
"There is no effect on fees so long as customers don't want additional capacity or function," said Searle. She added: "If organisations want to use additional function in the new software they will have to invest in expertise to renovate their applications. If they just want their current level of functionality it won't cost them."
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