The Dirty Tricks They Play: Oracle’s Forced Paid Upgrades

Oracle’s “Coercive Sales Practices”

When it comes to IT solutions, there’s a tendency to assume that newer equals better.

After all, the latest iPhone always outperforms its predecessor. Laptops and desktop PCs undeniably get a bit “tired” after a few years, and need replacing. Even printers and fax machines need to be replaced from time to time.

But ERP systems aren’t like mobile phones. In fact, they’re much more like landline phones—pretty much the same as they were ten years ago.

In this series, we’re taking a look at some of the most common dirty tricks used by Oracle and SAP, and explaining what (if anything) customers can do about them.

Today, we’re covering an ever-reliable trick that Oracle use to extract as much money as possible from their customers.

Who Said Anything About “Need”?

Forced upgrades are one of the oldest tricks in the book for software providers, and Oracle have made them a central component of their business model. In addition to only providing support for the most recent versions of their products, Oracle even refuse to provide updates to accommodate legislative changes for older versions of their software.

By taking this approach, Oracle effectively force customers into periodic expensive upgrades.

In many cases, these upgrades are not something the customer wants, and that’s hardly surprising. Most organisations already have stable, operational ERP systems in place, so what reason would they have to upgrade?

Sadly, sticking with their current (working) system doesn’t seem like an option for many organisations, because failing to upgrade would leave them unsupported.

In a survey conducted at the 2012 Oracle Application User Group, respondents were asked what factors most compelled them to upgrade their ERP suite. An incredible 73% of respondents listed “end of support”, while only 40% listed “better functionality”.

Source: ZDNet, 73% Oracle customers upgrade to stay supported, no reported ROI

In other words, a huge proportion of customers were upgrading their ERP purely because they would otherwise have been ineligible for Oracle support.

What Can You Do About It?

If you’re worried about losing support but don’t want to pay for expensive (and unnecessary) upgrades, you have two options:

  1. Maintain your Oracle products in-house; or,
  2. Switch to a third-party support provider

Many third-party providers are happy to support older versions of Oracle products, and will even provide the necessary patches and updates to meet your legislative and security needs.


Don’t Stand for Dirty Tricks

If you’ve had enough of the dirty tricks Oracle and SAP use to keep you paying over the odds for poor quality support, we can help. Recently, we published a report on their most common dirty tricks and what customers can do to protect themselves.

In the report, we cover:

  • How Oracle’s sales representatives use confusion tactics to keep customers paying for expensive support contracts year-after-year—even when they aren’t needed.
  • Why SAP customers feel forced into costly, unnecessary upgrades that can easily cost a significant amount of your budget by the time you consider project management, training, testing, etc.
  • What customers can do to protect their interests against the barrage of dirty tricks employed by Oracle and SAP – including how to save at least 50% on annual support contracts while receiving a higher level of service.

And much more.