Oracle wants an illegal monopoly on Solaris support, company alleges

Oracle has sued Terix and Maintech, saying they provide support for the OS in an illegal fashion

An independent Solaris OS support provider has countersued Oracle for unfair competition and violation of U.S. antitrust laws.

Oracle had sued Terix as well as another company, Maintech, in July 2013, saying they "engaged in a deliberate scheme to misappropriate and distribute copyrighted, proprietary Oracle software code" in the course of providing Solaris support services.

Terix denied wrongdoing at the time but goes further in its countersuit, which was filed earlier this month in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Since acquiring Sun Microsystems in 2010, "Oracle has pursued a deliberate policy of attempting to eliminate competition in the market for the maintenance and support of computer hardware running the Solaris operating system," the filing states. This amounts to "an illegal effort to monopolize those markets and to obtain supracompetitive profits from the support customers who are being denied the benefits of choice and competition."

Oracle wants to force customers to use its support services even when they could get superior services from third parties such as Terix "at a significantly lower cost," the filing adds.

Prior to the Oracle acquisition, Sun "routinely" allowed hardware customers and third-party support providers to "obtain Solaris Updates and Sun/Oracle Firmware promptly upon release for free or a reasonable and fair cost," the filing says.

But "Oracle turned off access to the free Solaris Firmware repository in Summer 2011, and now refuses to allow customers to obtain Sun/Oracle Firmware unless they also purchase Solaris Updates and Solaris Software Support Services from Oracle," the filing states.

An Oracle spokeswoman declined to comment on Monday.

A judge tossed out part of Oracle's lawsuit in January, saying Terix and Maintech hadn't engaged in software trafficking, but upheld other claims such as copyright infringement and false advertisement.

Oracle has struggled to expand its hardware business since buying Sun, and is undoubtedly loath to see money for support services go to third parties and not its own coffers.

It has also sued Rimini Street, which provides third-party support for Oracle and SAP applications. Rimini Street has also filed counterclaims against Oracle that take a similar approach to Terix's filing.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

Tags unixTerixSun MicrosystemsCivil lawsuitsMaintechoperating systemsRimini StreetOracleservicesintellectual propertylegalSAPsoftwareApplication services

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