Oracle Offering Free Y2K Upgrades



Oracle is offering free, year 2000-ready copies of its relational database--including the soon-to-ship Oracle8i--to customers with old, unsupported versions of the software, the company said yesterday. Oracle estimates that 3%, or between 3,000 and 4,000 customers, of its installed base is eligible.

Under the Oracle Upgrade2000 program, customers with Oracle 7.3.3 or earlier unsupported versions can upgrade to newer, year 2000-compliant versions at no cost. The program will run through April 30. The company will also offer its migration and support services to customers who upgrade, although Oracle will charge fees for those services.

The program could be a lifesaver for owners of obsolete versions of Oracle software. But it is also a savvy move by Oracle: Owners of old, unsupported software are generally the most likely to switch to products from other vendors. Offering free upgrades helps keep those customers in the Oracle fold. Most are small to midsize customers, Oracle says.

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