Oracle Contests Database Rankings

Oracle is disputing a report thatclaims the company has fallen to second place in the database duel.

The report, released Tuesday byGartnerDataquest, dethroned Oracle and awarded the database crown to IBM, which allegedlycaptured 34.6 percent of the market in 2001 compared with Oracle’s 32 percent.

The study showed that Oracle lost 2.1 percent of total database market share in 2001.That figure is no small matter in the technology sector, where competitors often usemarket share statistics for promotional purposes.

Oracle Takes Off Gloves

Oracle released a statement Wednesday morning that challenged IBM andMicrosoft toprovide “audited numbers” to analyst firms.

“Oracle is challenging assumptions that [it] is losing market share to competitors,given that a review of independent research and the activities of Oracle’s installed basedoes not support this,” Oracle chief financial officer Jeff Henley said.

Henley noted that revenue and growth data provided to industry analysts by vendors is notindependently validated.

Gartner Responds

Colleen Graham, an analyst in Gartner Dataquest’s software industry research group, toldthe E-Commerce Times that she supports the report.

Graham disputed Henley’s claim that data provided to Gartner by vendors was notindependently verified. She also asserted that identical methodology was used to examineOracle, IBM and third-place Microsoft.

“Oracle has used the number one rating in years past as a marketing tool,” she said.”They never contested the methodology before they dropped to number two.”

The Informix Factor

IBM’s acquisition of Informix is the only reason it took the number one spot, accordingto Graham. Historically, IBM and Oracle have been neck-and-neck in the database market,separated by a paltry US$30 million.

If Oracle had acquired Informix, Graham said, it would have remained atop the rankingsand actually solidified its position.

“Oracle knew that this report was going to be a problem,” she noted. “They have had verypoor revenue numbers [for] the past few quarters, and that’s certainly no secret.”

IBM into the Fray

IBM spokesperson Lori Bosio told the E-Commerce Times that while Oracle’s databasebusiness has declined, IBM’s database revenue has grown for 20 consecutive quarters.

“Two years ago, Oracle said, ‘IBM is not even a player in this space,’ and we’ve beengaining on them aggressively since that time,” Bosio said.

While Bosio agreed with Graham that the Informix acquisition has been a catalyst forIBM’s growth in the database market, she said other factors are also noteworthy.

Specifically, she pointed to IBM’s customer service commitment, partnering strategy,overall leadership and totalcost of ownership, as well as DB2’smomentum, as driving forces behind the company’s newfound database dominance.

“Gartner has not changed their methodology,” said Bosio, “and Oracle stood by theirmethodology when they were number one.”

The Gartner study did note that although IBM’s and Microsoft’s databases gained marketshare compared with Oracle in all categories, Oracle’s 9i software still dominated the $3billion UNIX market in 2001.

Microsoft could not immediately be reached for comment.

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