Gloves come off in Oracle/SAP battle

Oracle has launched a defector programme to tempt SAP customers to switch to Oracle E-Business Suite, while SAP has hit back – announcing that it has poached a major corporate Oracle user.

Oracle’s programme, called Oracle Fusion for SAP (OFF SAP), promises defectors a licence credit of up to 100 per cent. The company has also started offering free consultancy services to educate prospective customers about the migration process, and has unveiled a financing plan.

The scheme primarily targets SAP R/3 customers already considering upgrading to the latest SAP version. Because users have to re-licence and re-implement software when they move to the new version, the upgrade opens the door for a competing offering, the database giant claimed.

SAP R/3 is the previous generation of the vendor’s enterprise software. SAP has said that it will keep supporting the software until 2012. According to Oracle, only six per cent of SAP’s customers have upgraded to the current mySAP ERP version.

Oracle president Charles Phillips boasted that his company has 94 per cent of its customers running on the current version of the Oracle E-Business Suite, crediting this to free upgrades.

‘[SAP users] now have a low cost alternative to stop paying for upgrades and get OFF SAP,’ he said.

An Oracle spokeswoman told’s sister website that the programme is available to SAP users worldwide.

In a announcement on the same day, SAP revealed that it has sold mySAP software to luggage manufacturer Samsonite, a former Oracle customer.

Samsonite switched vendors under SAP’s Safe Passage programme unveiled at the beginning of this year. The programme offers a 75 per cent credit for PeopleSoft and JD Edwards licences for switching. The incentives are limited to customers in North America.

SAP launched its defector programme shortly after Oracle finalised the acquisition of PeopleSoft in January, hoping to capitalise on user uncertainty over support and future roadmaps.

The enterprise software vendor claimed that Samsonite has joined ‘a growing list of companies’ that have used the defector programme, but refused to provide any further details.

Industry analysts generally do not expect that the programmes will make much difference. The cost of switching enterprise suite vendors is considered too high to be offset by simple licence credits. Users can, however, use the programmes as a way to negotiate discounts.

Oracle and SAP are the two largest providers of enterprise application software in the world. Since Oracle’s acquisition of Peoplesoft, the pair have been engaged in an acrimonious battle for market share.

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