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Price fluctuations continue to trouble the channels

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DQW Bureau
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Oracle Software India Ltd is soon becoming one of those MNCs in the country, which are quite infamous for their frequent price fluctuations and that too without proper intimation to its channels. The change has been very frequently noticed in the case of RDBMS suite, which witnessed a percentage change of about 60 percent both upwards and downwards within a span of 12 to 15 months.

On the other hand, amongst the Indian audience, who lack brand loyalty, Microsoft is gaining popularity for its stable pricing of SQL Server, a direct competition of Oracle

RDBMS.





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Any product by Oracle though has no match if one talks about in the terms of the technical features, but the pricing perplexity is something, which is putting Oracle in wrong books, steadily. As said Mohit Gauba, Deputy Sales Manager, Tech Pacific, "The sales figures purely favor Microsoft for this product, but then Oracle has no comparison technically. Oracle has a support pack for all its products at the 22 percent cost of the licensed pack applicable worldwide, whereas Microsoft has no service support for SQL Server. SQL may also be gaining the 'popularity as it is bundled with the BackOffice suite. So merely going by figures we cannot say that Oracle is loosing its hold in the country for its suites. But we also agree that Microsoft is more stable than Oracle, as this company doesn't seem to be very clear with their objective in the country."

This was then justified by Somesh Bhagat, Marketing Head, Oracle India, "The price is always affected due to the variable factors like fluctuation in foreign exchange. Also, our dealers are well aware and informed about our prices, which gives them enough time to cope with, either the spillover or the excess buys."

Microsoft launched the SQL Server 2000 at the price of Rs 94,500 for a 10-user pack and a five-user pack was priced at Rs 60,900. In the second quarter, the five-user version was not available for ordering in India and a 10-user pack was selling at Rs 73,500 which was then reduced to Rs 60,900. Currently, it is stable at this price. All the people who had the packages with them, were virtually taken aback.

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On the other hand, the Oracle RDBMS 8i/9i standard, launched in January 2000, was selling under the concurrent policy, at the rate of Rs 10,500 per user and for the named user policy at the price of Rs 5,250 per user. Later on in the second quarter, the concurrent policy was withdrawn and the package was available in the market, only under named user policy at the price of Rs 10,500 per user. With effect from December 1, the prices have again been increased by two percent, making the current to Rs 10,700.

Another case, initially Oracle introduced Developer 2000 at the price of Rs 1.31 lakh, the Designer pack at additional Rs

1.57 lakh and JDeveloper at another blow of Rs 84,000. As a result, the sales of Designer and JDeveloper pack in effect were low. So in early 2001, a combined pack named Internet Developer Suite (IDS) was launched at a price of Rs 1.26 lakh.


To get the momentum for the combined package, a special offer in the beginning of second quarter was introduced which witnessed the price of IDS hitting a low of Rs 58,000. But soon after the scheme ended, the prices were brought back to Rs 1.57 lakh. In June again they were revised up to Rs 1.68 lakh which continued till November 2001. But dealers actually started picking that in October, because many had the left over bulk of the low prices. In November the prices touched a low of Rs 59,000 and in December they have again been revised at Rs 1.73 lakh. Oracle has announced the current increase in all its product prices by 2.5 percent, in lieu of change in the dollar prices.

Pointed out Ashish Aggarwal, Director, Trifin Technologies, "My experience with Oracle says that the company is highly confused about its policies. Every 10 to 15 days, they have a new scheme, a new policy; a new promotional stunt lined up for the dealers. Without any prior intimation, they change the prices and without giving a second thought to protect the stocks. For instance, only recently, Developer 2000 suite by Oracle was priced at Rs 2 lakh. Under a scheme that price was discounted till Rs 60,000 and subsequently, as soon as the scheme ended, it was again at Rs 2 lakh. Again even the database products pricing has been revised twice in past one month. It is applicable to Microsoft as well. The companies do not even bother to intimate the dealers through proper channel about any major price or policy change. It is only through our monthly letters that we come to know of any such thing and by then, the opportunities digress themselves from the less informed lot."

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