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Oracle rolls out price hikes on app server, database

Oracle hikes prices on BEA and database, but cuts prices on strategic business intelligence products to arm for its battle with SAP.

New from Oracle: price hikes.

Oracle's new price list includes hefty price hikes on BEA's popular application server as well as the company's own bread-and-butter database.

The price on the high-end BEA Weblogic server, newly named Oracle's lead app server, is now $25,000 per CPU up from $17,000 per CPU previously. The price on the lower-end version, which BEA called Advantage Edition and will now be known as Standard Edition, remains $10,000 per CPU.

Oracle also added a named-user price option for the application server -- $200 per named user for Standard Edition and $500 per named user for Enterprise Edition. "That may make things more flexible, but given how app servers are used, I don't see a lot of people buying this way," said one channel partner.

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A longtime Oracle and BEA Systems value-added reseller (VAR) -- who knows the niceties of the old pricing for both companies -- said the changes were long expected. People knew months before Oracle closed its $8.5 billion buyout of BEA that Oracle would probably acquire the company and then hike the prices, this channel exec noted.

"People are not happy about [the price hikes], but they've accepted them as inevitable. We told customers: 'When is the last time Oracle bought a company and didn't raise prices?' It actually helped us sell a lot of upgrades going into the acquisition," this reseller executive said.

One mystery remains: Nowhere on the new price lists is there mention of BEA's entry-level Weblogic Express. One partner said it appears that Oracle's new default play there is Oracle Internet Application Server Special Edition One.

Oracle remains in a quiet period going into its June 25 fourth-quarter and fiscal-year-end conference call.

Interestingly, pricing on the company's business intelligence (BI) lineup is the exception to the rule. Oracle has actually cut prices there, probably because the company increasingly sees BI as a strategic battleground with SAP and its new Business Objects franchise.

An example: Oracle's Financial BI Analytics was $400,000 per customer and is now $5,800 per application user, although it carries a minimum of 25 named users.

News of the Oracle price hikes was broken on the Channel Marker blog yesterday. To recap the highlights: Oracle raised the price of its high-end database to $47,500 per CPU from $40,000 per CPU.

Oracle partners are mixed on the news. Some say the actual list price of a product means very little in a world where Oracle discounts heavily to win deals. Others argue that the price list is the basis for all those discounts, so it matters. One partner said that a 50% discount on $47,500 versus one on $40,000 makes a difference.

"I think it's crazy to raise prices in this environment," said one West Coast Oracle partner. "This leaves a bad perception out there."

Those on both sides of the aisle said neither Oracle nor the independent BEA has hiked prices across the board in a long time.

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