Oracle and Gartner Group square up over numbers

Oracle has attacked a Gartner report that suggests it had lost ground to IBM in the database market. The vendor argues that the wrong data was used and it is challenging its rivals to provide “audited numbers” to analyst houses.

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By  Neil Denslow Published  May 9, 2002

Oracle has attacked a Gartner report that suggested it had lost ground to IBM in the database market. The vendor argues that the wrong data was used and it is challenging rivals IBM and Microsoft to provide “audited numbers” to analyst houses.

On Tuesday, Gartner Dataquest reported that Oracle had fallen behind IBM in the global database market. Their figures said that Oracle had 32% of overall revenue, while Big Blue held 34.6%.

As market share numbers are heavily touted by vendors, this was a big boost to IBM. Oracle responded in the industry’s traditional way by trashing the numbers.

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

“In this time when financial reporting is under scrutiny, it is sadly ironic that the revenue and growth data provided to the industry analysts by the vendors themselves is not independently validated, outside of Oracle’s,” he continues.

“Until our major database competitors, IBM and Microsoft, provide audited database financial numbers, the data that makes up these analyst reports is suspect. IBM reports one single audited line item for its $13 billion software business. Similarly, Microsoft reports one audited line item for its Desktop and Enterprise Software & Services business. Oracle is challenging IBM and Microsoft to provide the industry analyst firms with audited numbers so that a fair and accurate comparison can be made,” he adds.

Betsy Burton of Gartner, who co-authored the database report, told CNET.com that “our methodology was not questioned in the past by any vendor, including Oracle. We talk to 1,000 clients every single year and use our experience to come up with estimates that accurately reflects what’s happening in the marketplace.”

She added that for two years Gartner had been predicting that Oracle’s market share would be hit. “For over 18 to 24 months, Gartner has said Oracle’s business practices and pricing strategies would affect their revenue. We expected this to happen. Oracle was hurt by belt-tightening, the dot-com backlash, and their credibility was affected by their pricing tactics. Now there’s reasonable alternatives in Microsoft and IBM and people are willing to consider alternatives.”

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