You never want to get between a grizzly bear and her cubs or between Larry Ellison and his $3+ billion per year maintenance revenue stream. Rimini Street has achieved enough success providing an alternative to Oracle for software support to trigger a mighty roar and paw swipe in the form of an Oracle lawsuit. The inevitable countersuit has been filed as well.
I have no knowledge of the merits of either case. Who knows which side is right and who will prevail? What I do know is that severe pressure to reduce costs has caused many JDE customers to at least consider third party maintenance. On the surface, it is tempting to consider the option of cutting support costs in half.
Oracle typically charges 22% of original cost per year while third party vendors such as Rimini Street come in around half of that. The huge downside of dropping Oracle support is loss of access to new releases. Those that want to catch up at a future date need to pay for another software license. Proceeding down Rimini Street thus only makes sense for customers that are highly confident that they will remain on the current release for many years into the future.
The Oracle lawsuit adds another concern to those considering this option – will Rimini Street be able to provide an adequate level of support if it loses in court? Oracle does not have to win the suit to make filing it a worthwhile investment. Slowing third-party maintenance sales by creating doubt makes the suit worthwhile win, lose or tie. The Oracle legal strategy thus may end up being to let the case drag on indefinitely and to drive up the cost of defending it.
In general, my company normally advises clients to not consider third party maintenance because of all the uncertainties. At the same time, having viable providers such as Rimini Street around helps motivate Oracle to keep the value proposition high and the price affordable.
It would be a shame if the result of this suit is to completely drive Rimini Street away, something I don’t think will happen. From the information publically available, the Oracle case does not appear to be nearly as clear-cut as the one against TomorrowNow was a few years ago. In that case numerous clearly improper acts had been documented.
JDE customers that use Rimini Street or that are considering it will need to follow this situation closely. We will keep an eye out for further developments, but chances are that this will play out slowly over a long period of time.