Oracle's sales force has been accused of not knowing the company's licensing policy, as the bitter war of words between the database giant and analyst firm Meta Group escalated.
The argument follows a warning by Meta last week that Oracle customers could be paying too much. The debate centres around who advised users that batch feeds from non-Oracle applications could be licensed as named users.
The responsibility is very much with the vendor, according to Charlie Garry, programme director at Meta.
He insisted that it was Oracle sales reps who had originally told customers to license non-Oracle applications as named users. "Oracle has made it clear that sales reps do not understand their own licensing terms," said Garry.
Oracle has denied this charge. "The licensing policy has been consistent. A named user is a person. It cannot be a batch feed," explained Jacqueline Woods, head of global services at Oracle. "There have been a few cases where customers have mis-licensed themselves."
But Garry maintained that Oracle customers should exercise caution when entering licence agreements. "Make sure you ask questions about your specific environment, and get the answers in writing," he said.
Refusing to admit that its licence terms were confusing, Woods explained that Oracle was "not in the business of causing our customers angst" and that it was not "actively seeking" cases where firms are incorrectly licensed.
UK customers had not made any similar reports, said Ronan Miles, chairman of Oracle's UK user group.
Because many Oracle users operate in a heterogeneous environment, the number of customers who had similar problems should be higher, he added.
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