Oracle has slashed the prices of some of its 10g database products in a bid to steal market share from Microsoft SQL Server.
As 10g for Linux and Unix finally hit the streets last week, the mid-market and departmental version, Standard Edition One, has been extended to cover dual-processor hardware.
Prices have been cut from $5,995 to $4,995 per processor for new customers only.
Named-user Plus licences for Standard Edition One have also been cut, from $195 to $149 with a minimum of five users.
Jacqueline Woods, vice-president of global pricing and licensing strategy at Oracle, said: "Making our entry-level pricing the same as Microsoft's shows we're serious about competing head-on with SQL Server."
However, Oracle may be considering dropping per-processor pricing in favour of an annual, per-employee subscription.
"For me the best pricing model is the employee-based one," said Oracle chief Larry Ellison. "It's very difficult for customers to count processors or users of systems."
Mark Hatton, managing director of Oracle distributor Sphinx, said the key thing for him was increasing the maximum processors from one to two with Standard Edition One.
"There is already significant uptake in the SME community because of its robust and well-known architecture. [Cost] reductions can only help its penetration and continue the acceleration of Oracle 10g in this space," he said.
Ursula Cook, sales and marketing manager at reseller Trustmarque, said: "Microsoft is gaining ground in getting [SQL Server] volume in this space and Oracle is preparing its competition.
"We will promote all products equally and act solely as a facilitator, but I'm sure this will increase Oracle's proposition."
Pricing and processor limits for the Oracle 10g Database Standard Edition for larger firms are unaltered, but the previously standalone Real Application Cluster option is now included free to new customers.
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