Oracle raises software prices (again)

Oracle is raising prices on non-core components to ensure revenue growth. What will happen when MySQL enters the fray?

Dave Rosenberg Co-founder, MuleSource
Dave Rosenberg has more than 15 years of technology and marketing experience that spans from Bell Labs to startup IPOs to open-source and cloud software companies. He is CEO and founder of Nodeable, co-founder of MuleSoft, and managing director for Hardy Way. He is an adviser to DataStax, IT Database, and Puppet Labs.
Dave Rosenberg
2 min read
Oracle: Kings of pricing.

One year after raising many prices by 20 percent or more, Oracle is once again raising prices--by 40 percent for certain products.

Interestingly, the products receiving the big price bumps are not the core database or application servers, but instead the administrative tools used for monitoring and compliance.

I'd certainly like to say this is price gouging, but really it is just smart business. Oracle knows database sales can't grow forever and that customers will sooner or later need to have additional tooling. Strategically, it's much smarter to price non-core components higher to ensure consistent adoption and cash flow of the primary product line.

This does introduce a few strategy questions related to the impending Sun acquisition--namely, how does Oracle price MySQL and its related packages, and will the existing tools work with MySQL or will customers running both be forced to buy two sets of tools? And will MySQL users be comfortable with Oracle changing pricing policies?

Pricing changes are common across all software companies, but open-source companies like MySQL have generally stuck to simple models to keep the costs of sales low and volumes high.

The big question is if Oracle owning MySQL helps customers. There are no doubt scenarios in which it will be convenient to buy and be supported from one source (the mythical "one throat to choke"), but it's hard to see how the hands-on approach of Oracle sales jives with MySQL's adoption to sales conversion process.

As a side note, if you think the GPL and open-source licensing is confusing, take a gander at Oracle's Application Licensing Table (PDF), which seems straightforward until you need to use a non-vanilla installation.

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