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Oracle Extorting Its Corporate Customers?

Some high-profile Oracle Corp.(ORCL) customers are accusing the company of extortion as European Union antitrust regulators probe the recent $7.4 billion offer for hardware maker Sun Microsystems.

“Once you’ve made a deal with the devil, it’s hard to get away,” James Sims, CIO of a California grocery chain, told BusinessWeek. He said the chain is stuck using Oracle’s software because switching to a new supplier is too expensive.

“They’re extorting us. I’m very unhappy with them,” Sims said.

The grocer isn’t the only Oracle customer to complain to BusinessWeek. There’s also a prominent airline, which says Oracle won’t negotiate a new contract in the midst of a revenue-crushing recession.

The BusinessWeek article – complete with one of the most unflattering caricatures of all time; Oracle CEO Lawrence Ellison looks homeless and hung over – says Oracle’s “growing power” in the software industry stands to turn into a monopoly, especially as it steps into the hardware sector for the first time once the Sun deal is fully approved.

European regulators are scrutinizing the transaction, though. For one thing, they fear Oracle would quash Sun’s open-source MySQL database because it’s emerged as a tough rival to Oracle’s platform.


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