Questions have been raised over Oracle's commitment to its channel partners - despite the database giant's claim to have transformed its direct sales operation to reduce channel conflict.
Oracle insists that its change in the way it pays its direct sales force should benefit partners.
"We recognised that we needed to work more closely with our partners, and we've adjusted our direct sales model accordingly," said Trudy Norris-Grey, vice president of multi-channel sales at Oracle UK.
But Greg Carlow, managing director of VAR Repton, told vnunet.com he still sees Oracle undercutting him, despite that resulting in lower margins for the database firm.
"I've heard the words, and I'm not saying things are worse. But they're not any better," he said.
Oracle insists that its partners have a key role in helping to ship its next-generation database software.
But there was a conspicuous absence of any channel strategy at the 10g launch last month, and much of the talk about serving mid-sized business, traditionally a strong area for channel sales, focused on outsourcing.
"Outsourcing is an ideal way for mid-sized firms to get hold of this technology," said Benny Souder, Oracle's vice president of distributed databases.
But now Oracle insists that its passion for outsourcing will not cannibalise its indirect sales.
"Approximately 70 per cent of our sales in the UK are done through partners, so they're very important to us and the majority of our outsourcing is done with partners," said Norris-Grey.
Carlow is dismissive of Oracle's outsourcing push, which relies on customers making few changes to the software.
"The amount of benefit customers get from tweaking the code is pretty large," he said. "That's why they've done it in the past. Maybe in 30 or 40 years outsourcing will be a more common model."
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