In the world of license management, there is one topic that is causing quite a stir this year: Oracle’s new Java license terms, which came into force in January.
You’re probably wondering why I’m writing another article about this topic. The reason for this is an enquiry we recently received from a customer. Our customer, who has had a Java subscription for years, received a message from Oracle that an extension under the old license terms was no longer possible. The customer was initially unsettled by the significantly higher costs. He contacted us and we were able to confirm that Oracle still emphasizes on its own website that existing customers can renew their Java subscriptions under the old conditions. With this knowledge, he was able to enter negotiations with Oracle in a stronger position and quickly received a commitment to renew under the old conditions.
Although this short story has a happy ending, it shows that some of the fears that accompanied the license change are slowly becoming reality.
For those who have not yet heard about the changes, I would like to offer a summary:
Previously, Oracle Java was licensed by “Named User” and “Processor”. Since the beginning of the year, the Employee metric has applied. This means that regardless of the number of Java installations, all employees of the company are counted, and the license costs are calculated on this basis. In addition, the price for an employee in the new metric is noticeably higher than for a Named User license.
Details about the change in the license conditions can also be found here:
Java – Current changes by Oracle can be expensive for you! – SAMtoa GmbH – The license experts
Let’s get back to what has changed since Oracle published the new license terms for Java.
When Oracle announced these changes, there were worried reactions from existing customers, as the change would cause prices to rise for almost all customers. But there was also a ray of hope: Georges Saab, Senior Vice President of Development for Java, explained that existing customers do not necessarily have to switch to the new terms and can renew their contracts under the old conditions. This option was confirmed for a long time on the Oracle website in the FAQ on the new Java licensing.
However, the statement on the website has been changed since then. Existing customers may only renew under the old conditions if they do not require more licenses than before. Oracle also states that renewal is only possible if the license consumption is demonstrably not higher than the licenses purchased. This addition could mean that Oracle will only agree to an extension under the old metric after an audit. Details on the implementation of this addition are currently still unclear.
The story I started this article with happened shortly before the change on the Oracle website. The change is worrying for existing Java customers. Because it is becoming increasingly clear that Oracle wants to force not only new customers but also existing customers into the new license metric. To achieve this goal, they are apparently trying to intimidate existing customers who have been working with Oracle for years in order to make even more money with Java.
These changes occur amongst the publication of Oracle’s revenue figures for the first quarter of 2023. The results are below expectations, which explains why Oracle is now increasingly looking for ways to generate additional revenue from existing customers.
Unfortunately, such attempts at intimidation by Oracle are not uncommon. There are certainly companies that accept such statements from a software manufacturer like Oracle without scrutiny and bear the higher costs. This is exactly what Oracle is targeting. The best defense against such tactics is information. Be it about the license conditions and changes or about your actual license requirements. Information strengthens your negotiating position vis-à-vis Oracle and enables you to defend your interests convincingly.
Given the complex and ever-changing Oracle Java licensing landscape, it’s crucial that you have your licensing strategy well thought out and optimized. The right expertise can make the difference between cost explosion and efficient license management.
If you have questions about Oracle Java licensing, are unsure how the new terms will affect your business or are looking for ways to minimize your licensing costs, we are here to help. Our team of experienced license experts has extensive knowledge of Oracle licenses and can help you find the best possible solution for your business.
Contact us today to clarify your questions and optimise your licensing strategy. Together we can ensure that your Oracle Java licences are in line with your business requirements and budget. Let’s take back control of your licensing together.
License expert of SAMtoa GmbH