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By | Gavin Clarke 5th March 2009 20:41

Oracle facing 'worst' quarter in 15 years?

Flaw in buying-IT-customers strategy uncovered

One of the driving forces behind Oracle's three-year corporate buying frenzy has been to add customers to its roster by owning the 44 tech companies supplying them.

Problem is, you you can have all the customers under the sun but if they ain't spending on IT they ain't buying your products.

Now, it seems Oracle's $13bn plus M&A binge has hit its logical flaw, as Oracle is this month expected to report the worst quarter since the early 1990s - another recessionary period for those who can see past the dot-com crash of the early 2000s.

JMP Securities analyst Patrick Walravens reportedly said: "Our due diligence suggests that the February quarter was, in some respects, the worst Oracle has experienced in over 15 years. The tone of the commentary from our industry sources regarding new license revenue is the worst we have ever heard."

These words comes after Oracle reported a second-quarter in December that was broadly in line with Wall St's expectations, despite a tanking economy.

If Walravens is correct, Oracle won't be the first tech company to bet pulled under by the economy.

In the case of Oracle, though, the recession has given customers reason to pause when it comes to buying or renewing Oracle. These people, it seems are opening the door to fully paid-for open source, instead of just dabbling with the free version at the edges of their infrastructure or getting by without paying the support fees.

Pressed by economics, customers are looking for alternatives to simply bolting another expensive Oracle database on to the network just to hold application data or simply spinning up another Oracle-owned application server.

For these people, open source is providing not just a lightweight alternative to an all-you-can eat Oracle middleware architecture, it's also proving cheaper in areas considered mission critical. ®

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