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The blogged wandering of Robert W. Anderson

Enterprise Ventures Conference

At the Dow Jones Enterprise Ventures conference in San Jose today. John will be making a couple of presentations later today.

The opening panel consisted of Jason Maynard (Credit Suisse), Douglas Kehring (Oracle), Terry Garnett (Garnett & Helfrich Capital), and David Skok (Matrix Partners). The overall topic was consolidation, business models, etc. and how these changes effect startups.

I don’t think I disagreed with a single thing except for something the Oracle guy said. Frankly, I found it odd to put a guy from Oracle on the panel with these other guys. He did a good job certainly; however, he (i.e., Oracle) ended up being ganged up on a bit as an obvious target. You can guess how it went:

  • How do the changes in business models effect the incumbents?
  • Well, lets take Oracle as an example . . .

Anyway, Mr. Garnett mentioned that large enterprises are tired of paying the large maintenance / support fees to the incumbent database companies. Mr. Kehring noted that the price / performance and capabilities (i.e., features) of Oracle continue to increase greatly; making the maintenance worth it.

Right, but a very many of these big enterprises don’t want the new features and new performance. Their Oracle install licenses already do what they need. They aren’t upgrading. They don’t need the new features — they don’t care. Mr. Garnett made this point, too, that a large percentage (I think he said 33%) are still running Oracle 7.

This is something that we all have to understand as vendors: many customers don’t upgrade.

Most of them do value maintenance and support for a time, but don’t actually want or need the new features. Driving upgrades is important for vendors for a couple of reasons. More on this later.

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