Oracle Series: Countdown of the Top Twelve (most egregious) Oracle Terms and Conditions, #7 Bundling of Support

Steven Zolman
Jun. 26,2019 | Software Oracle

What is the Bundling of Support?  The bundling of support is Oracle’s long-standing policy to sell product upgrades and technical support together as a single offering, and not allow customers to buy them separately. 

Why is it important? It’s important because in mature deployments, many customers no longer need product upgradability, but they still want access to technical support for the appearance of risk mitigation.  In those instances, they are forced to pay for one to get the other.  Oracle combines technical break/fix product support with product upgradability (the rights to upgrade the product with no additional software license cost) and sells this bundled solution as its annual maintenance and support services, which is generally priced at 22% of the net license value of the underlying license it supports. 

Oracle used to price these items separately at 7/22 (about 32% of the costs) for technical support and 15/22 (about 68% of the costs) for product upgradability and would allow customers to buy one without the other.  That option no longer exists.  Customers are now forced into an ‘all or nothing’ mindset when it comes to bundled maintenance and support services.  Some clients would like to continue to receive technical support but have no plans to upgrade the software, perhaps due to an environment lockdown or application sun-setting. 

In this case, customers would be well served with a technical support (only) offering.  This Oracle policy causes clients in this situation to overpay by more than triple the market value for the service they need.  One potential option for this is to ensure your contracts clearly delineate the definition of product support between technical support and product upgradability and allow you to buy one without the other.  There is a very low probability of Oracle agreeing to such a provision, so the second option is to be sure there is a provision in the agreement that allows for third party support, which means you would be able to acquire third party product support in the event you no longer require product upgradability, and it wouldn’t impair the value of the underlying perpetual software license.

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