Half of Oracle's customers say the company's licensing model is unfair, and many believe its products are overpriced.
These are the major findings of the UK Oracle User Group's recent licensing survey, revealed exclusively to Computing. More than 300 companies took part in the survey.
Some 56 per cent of respondents feel Oracle's licensing is "unfair", 73 per cent feel it is hard to manage and 54 per cent feel it offers poor value for money.
A typical price - quoted by Computacenter - is £8,170 for a 50 user licence for Microsoft's SQL Server enterprise edition and £920 per user for Oracle 8i, for a minimum of eight users.
One survey participant said: "SQL Server seems to offer bargain basement pricing."
Last December at the user group's annual conference, chairman Clive Walker raised the issue of software licensing. He questioned how the present concurrent licensing models would be applied to Internet based applications, which can create thousands of extra users for a product such as Oracle 8i.
However, although 74 per cent of respondents feel the licence model must change across the range of Oracle software, 63 per cent of respondents favoured sticking with the concurrent user pricing model for products such as Oracle 8i and Oracle Application Server. Only 16 per cent want meter based licensing.
Ronan Miles, deputy chairman of the user group, said: "I'm surprised that metering is not a popular option as it mitigates the risks for new Internet ventures. The greater your success the more you pay."
Other Oracle licensing conditions were also criticised. Some 88 per cent of respondents are unhappy paying for enterprise manager - the tool which manages the Oracle database - per database user, arguing that only database administrators should have to be licensed.
Miles said: "Oracle UK has reacted positively to the survey."
Oracle UK said that only its managing director Philip Crawford could comment on licensing issues. He was unavailable to comment earlier this week.
For further stories see 6 May issue of Computing
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