Oracle gets called out for shady software licensing practices

A UK-based not-for-profit group called the “Campaign for Clear Licensing” has accused Oracle of using less-than-honest tactics when it comes to selling licenses for its software.

Campaign for Clear Licensing, which advocates for the rights of business software buyers, recently conducted an independent report where it surveyed Oracle customers and found that most of them were unhappy with Oracle’s lack of communication about licensing changes and inconsistent messaging. 

“It is fair to say that based on our research and conversations over the last six months, customers’ relationships with Oracle are hostile and filled with deep rooted mistrust,” states the report.

Here were the particular complaints raised by customers:

Customers did not feel autonomous

Most Oracle users said they weren’t able to evaluate or audit Oracle’s software deployment without Oracle’s help, making them dependent on the company. License measurement techniques were not outlined in the contracts with poor contract terms defining licensing agreements.

Unclear messaging from Oracle

Under competitive pressure, Oracle sales team were accused of not disclosing all the terms of the software contract, with customers often surprised, and annoyed by licensing changes being sprung on them without warning.

Oracle optimizes licensing deals to favor revenue streams over customer requirements

Oracle locks in companies for buying software bundles with a discount prices, and then doesn’t let them drop individual parts when they aren’t using them, making it inefficient and ultimately more expensive for customers.

For its part, Oracle was allowed to respond to the specific complaints as part of the study, working together with CCL to come up with a list of recommendation to improve customer relations. But studies like this highlight the aggressive, and often confusing world of software licensing and it should serve as a warning to marketing tech companies as the demand (and competition) for their platforms grows.

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