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Oracle takes flak over Sun channel disruption

Microscope contributor
The euphoria among Sun Microsystem's reseller base following its acquisition by Oracle has turned to frustration with delayed lead times and poor communication from the vendor causing some concern.

From the start of February, Oracle suspended Sun's order desk globally to do a complete audit of the business and change internal controls. It only fired up the engines again last week, leaving distributors facing a huge backlog of reseller orders.

In a statement, Sukh Rayat, EMEA SVP at Avnet Technology Solutions said: "We are aware of the situation and are keeping lines of communication open between Oracle and our partners to help them work through this as the company transitions contracts."

The high-level strategy outlined by Oracle execs on the day the acquisition concluded was positive, said Alastair Kitching, COO at Sun partner Esteem Systems, but he added: "In terms of the day-to-day business it is challenging."

"All resellers need to go to Oracle to approve special bids which is time consuming and frustrating," he told MicroScope.

Others noted the irony of Oracle, a database vendor causing delays to its supply chain while it transferred data from one system to another and wondered why plans were not put in place to circumvent the issue.

Darren Stringer, managing director at Brighter Connections, said it had received no prior warning from Sun/Oracle of the delays: "I thought it was possible for a tech company to migrate data without disruption to resellers."

"If we were given notice of the changes I am sure that with distributors we could have prepared and had the inventory in place because there is an element of predictability in our business," he added.

It had been difficult to "place, chase and process orders," said Mike Rodwell, commercial director at Computacenter but he reasoned that this was understandable given the size of the two organisations that were merging.

"It was a pain but is now easing up and to my mind it was not unexpected," he said.

Coming in the wake of Oracle CEO Larry Ellison's recent commitment to cosy up to Sun's top 4,000 accounts - which induced paranoia among resellers and distributors - communication with channel partners is paramount.

It is also worth remembering that these sorts of issues are unlikely to impress some customers.

Sun/Oracle refused to comment.
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