Oracle Rules


Wherever vendor-partner strife exists (and where does it not?) sooner or later someone drags out the vaunted "Rules Of Engagement."

In theory, these regs set out how disputes between a direct sales person and a channel partner should be resolved. But preferably they nip such strife in the bud. Unfortunately that rarely happens.

Oracle made much of its rules, or what it termed "guiding principles" re-published last year. They were not new but tweaked, and cynics among Oracle's partner corps insist they were just a warmed-over rehash of what Oracle has said before, to little affect.

But at least Oracle put some lines in the sand. For example, the company "will place a priority on identifying and working with partners that demonstrate a commitment to marketing, selling and/or implementing Oracle solutions." That would be rule, er, I mean, GUIDING PRINCIPLE Number 2.

However, partners say Oracle sales peeps can be creative when it comes to dealing with these lines. They maintain that often when a customer contacts Oracle on pricing or other bare-bones data, some Oracle sales people later claim that as a house account when a partner tries to register the deal.

Guiding Principle 4 is thus of special interest: "In all cases, Oracle will actively compete for new customers and, above all else, will respect customer choice. The end customer will be the final arbiter for who sells or implements the solution." Clearly, that is a recipe for conflicts.

Oracle channel VP Rauline Ochs says the secret in such situations is to escalate the issue to higher powers. To her. Or Charles Phillips. Oracle's co-president Phillips has also recommended that partners take that tack.

Coming out of the latest sales reorg that puts Ted Bereswill in charge of all North American database sales, hope springs again for peaceful and fruitful coexistence. Ted is known as a channel guy. Partners sure hope so.

Idiots Then And Now?

Renee Blodgett pulled together a nice little soiree last week for Boston-area journos and others at Sydney's near MIT.

Great to see some old buds, including Vadim Yasinovsky who, reminded a few of us of an infamous quote he made years ago. If you should Google Vadim's name (correct spelling helps) and the word "idiot" you will find a Computerworld story quoting Vadim on Microsoft's penchant then and now for pre-announcing products and technologies that then take what seems to be eons to ship. In the meantime developers, and their products, suffer.

Of Microsoft's claims at transparency, Yasinovsky said back in 1994 when he was president of Clear Software, a maker of flow-charting software: "If you believe their press releases, then you probably deserve whatever happens to you...If you don't learn from history, then you are an idiot by definition."

Pacman Turns 25

Here's one that can make you feel aged:
Pacman, one of the best early video games, turned 25 last week. Not only that, there's a Pacman rebirth on tap: Apparently a virtual version of the game is afoot. You too can slap on some kind of headgear and battle ghosts in the real world.

Here's to Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde. No word on whether a reality version of Breakout is on tap as well.