I’ve been in the Oracle ecosystem for almost 25 years now. It’s difficult to surprise me when it comes to Oracle behavior. Some days I think that I’ve “seen it all” with Oracle. Then, however, I read something that makes me shake my head and think, “Oracle didn’t actually say that, did they?” That’s exactly what happened when I read through all the court filings in the lawsuit between the City of Sunrise Firefighters Pension v Oracle. This lawsuit was filed in August 2018 and amended in 2019. Oracle filed a motion to dismiss the suit, and the Firefighters filed a motion to deny Oracle and force this thing forward. Links to all the documents are listed at the end of this blog.
There are 190 pages of materials here and I read through all of them. For those of you interested in the alleged inner workings of Oracle, how they sell, how they treat their customers, etc, I encourage you to read through it all. The lawsuit is a fascinating read. However, what struck me most was Oracle’s response to the suit, and what that tells us about how Oracle views and treats their customers.
The first shocker from Oracle’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit is that Oracle never once denies that it uses audits to compel customers to buy products like cloud, even when those customers have no interest or use for those products. I read the document looking for Oracle’s denial and it’s just not there. You would think if you were being sued and one of the claims is that you audited your clients into submission that you would categorically deny that. If you read the lawsuit, you’ll read claims that the Oracle sales and LMS teams work hand in hand to push clients into buying Oracle cloud. The Oracle LMS audit team is apparently not the impartial organization they claim to be. I’m shocked. NOT!
The second shocker, even more so than the first, is that Oracle doubles down on their position that it’s okay to aggressively audit their customers and force them to buy cloud. In fact, Oracle states that “It is not improper to use aggressive tactics [like audits] to sell products” Amazing! Not only do they not deny it, but they think treating you, the customer, in this manner is totally proper. You should bring that up with your Oracle sales rep the next time you are talking to them.
I’m not going to pass judgement on the legality of what Oracle is doing and whether or not these practices are actionable and will lead to an award for the Firefighters Pension Fund. That is a discussion for another day. Rather, I will leave you with this question: Whether or not it’s legal, isn’t this a terrible way to treat your customers and sell your products? Shouldn’t a company like Oracle, that claims to care about its customers, treat them better than this? I know I wouldn’t want my vendors to do this to me.
We will continue to follow this case closely and highlight Oracle’s alleged behavior and use of their LMS audit team to drive customers to purchase products that customers do not want. I’ve been talking about this for years. Perhaps more details will now be made public and more Oracle customers will be aware of how to avoid being trapped in this type of predicament.
Lawsuit documents, for reference: