Oracle will permit just four services-based resellers and integrators to renew maintenance agreements when they expire, effectively forcing vast swathes of the partner channel to hand over customer details to rivals.
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Under terms of the new set up, the majority of the partner base will be restricted to sell one year contracts and when they expire, only SCC, Computacenter, Esteem Systems and Q Associates will be authorised to resell them to the end-user business.
"This was annuity business for us with decent margins," said one Oracle partner, "many former Sun resellers have built a good customer base on the back of maintenance deals."
The changes had been "done under the wire" said another voice in the channel that voiced anger about the changes.
"Oracle has not communicated these changes to partners it has been done through a process of osmosis, it has brought to market a renewals programme and only invited four businesses to join it," he said.
The move does not seem to be equitable but "Oracle always does what is best for Oracle, not the customer or the partner. This will be easier for them to administer but exclusivity doesn't seem fair," said another.
The deadline to sign up to Oracle's Partner Network is the middle of this month but it is highly doubtful that all 240 resellers in the former Sun Partner Advantage scheme or the 110 registered Open Access resellers will transfer across.
The $2,000 entry level charge to the programme has deterred some as has the $9,995 yearly subscription for the higher banded partners; discounts to join the scheme ended in September.
"This is making people think hard about whether to go down the line with Oracle, will they get ROI? The high value applications resellers might consider migrating to another platform," said an industry watcher.
Oracle was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.