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Others drawn into Oracle, Rimini Street legal fray

Chris Kanaracus | April 6, 2011
Three other providers of third-party software maintenance have been drawn into the legal battle between Oracle and Rimini Street.

Rimini's standard offering includes around-the-clock support, tax and regulatory updates, "installation and upgrade process support," and fixes for documentation and customizations, among other features.

Cedar Crestone and netCustomer could not immediately be reached for comment on Wednesday. Nor could Oracle.

"At this point, we are simply gathering data from other third party providers to be used in a variety of ways in our litigation," said Dave Rowe, Rimini Street's senior vice president of global marketing and alliances, in an e-mail.

Oracle is seeking more time for pretrial discovery activities, according to the filing. While "the parties have worked well together to address their respective concerns and to stage discovery in a sensible manner ... this process has revealed that much more needs to be done, and the parties have not made the progress necessary," it states.

But Rimini Street disagreed, saying Oracle is "dragging its feet" on its own discovery obligations and that plenty of time remains on the current schedule "for the parties to reasonably explore the full merits of the dispute."

"Oracle has five months remaining and virtually limitless resources," Rimini Street added. "It should use those time and resources to meet the Court's schedule, rather than using those time and resources to justify abandoning it."

Rimini Street's reference to Oracle's "limitless resources" may allude to a key underlying concern for the company, which remains tiny compared to Oracle.

In a previous interview, Rimini Street's Ravin told IDG News Service that the company was well-prepared and funded to battle Oracle in court.

But it's not clear how much Rimini Street could add to its legal war chest if the litigation drags on longer than expected or grows more complex.

Money, substantial amounts of it, lies at the heart of the dispute.

Vendors like Oracle covet maintenance revenue, which is paid annually by customers, as it provides steady income even when new software sales are hard to find. In return, customers receive product support, patches and upgrades.

Rimini Street and its peers court customers running older but stable software releases, who have little desire to endure the pain and cost an upgrade typically entails, and therefore can do without vendor support. The company says customers will save at least 50 percent off their vendor maintenance bills.

Despite the litigation's increasing scope, it has apparently not harmed Rimini Street's growth. The company announced record first-quarter results on Monday, with $7.5 million in revenue. It now has more than 400 clients, including 11 Global 100 and 38 Fortune 500 companies, according to a statement.

Overall, the case presents high stakes for the software industry and its customers, according to one observer.


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