SIA squawks at DoJ about anti-competitive Oracle

The US Service Industry Association (SIA) has filed an appeal with the Department of Justice (DOJ) over the alleged anti-competitiveness of Oracle with regards to its Sun Microsystems hardware maintenance policies.

It is alleged in the letter to the DOJ that Oracle’s punitive new policies are directed at maintenance business contracts held by Independent Service Organizations (ISOs) which currently amount to $2.4 billion.  It is contended by the SIA that the new measures help create a monopoly for Sun Microsystems, which Oracle acquired earlier this year, in the IT service and maintenance industries.

It is thought that Oracle’s policies are a deliberate attempt to prevent third party firms from servicing the hardware break-fix needs of Sun hardware users by abusing its dominant market position.

The measures have seen Oracle restrict access for those who do not currently have hardware maintenance contracts with the firm to its operating system software updates, which means that those who have selected Oracle software are also tied into purchasing its hardware should they ever require any maintenance on software products.

Customers who use ISO support and then wish to return to Oracle are subject to “draconian” ‘Return to Oracle’ service restoration fees which can intimidate users from leaving – for fear of being landed with a hefty fee upon return. 

Furthermore, customers are unable to split maintenance services between Oracle and an ISO, maintaining an all or nothing approach.

Oracle will also charge re-qualification fees to any customers with the cojones to attempt to seek ISO support to bring the hardware back under its own support. It will charge an additional reinstatement fee equal to 150 percent of the last-paid support fee, or 150 percent of the list technical support price for the system, prorated from the date technical support is being ordered back to the date support lapsed.

The appeal to the DOJ marks an escalation in the row between the two, with SIA writing to complain to Oracle earlier this year before Oracle rebuked claims.