Oracle offers some extended support for 10.7 apps

Oracle will give users of version 10.7 of its applications suite limited support for another year after the June 30 general support cutoff date, to give them time to upgrade, the company said Thursday.

The "Extended Support" offer is limited to known issues. Customers will be able to download patches and get telephone support on those issues only. There will be no new program updates, fixes, maintenance releases or functionality releases, according to a frequently asked questions (FAQ) document on Oracle's Web site. (http://www.oracle.com/support/supportfaq.html)Extended Support is provided at no additional charge to customers who maintain support contracts for the relevant licenses, Oracle said.

The offer is the result of a request by the Oracle Applications Users Group (OAUG), which had already succeeded in getting full support for 10.7 extended twice.

"We were planning to discontinue support completely on June 30, but in discussions with the OAUG we have decided to keep support for known issues and that will be available for another year," said an Oracle spokeswoman.

The OAUG feels the FAQ "adequately addresses" the issues and concerns of the user community, but noted that Oracle is not doing more than it would normally do when ending support for a software version, Tim Butler, OAUG vice president and chief information officer at M.K. Health Food Distributors said in an e-mail answer to a reporter's questions.

"There is some confusion as to the definition of Extended Support. Extended Support is not an extension of the de-support date, but rather the normal process that Oracle goes through at the end of the product lifecycle for a specific release level," Butler said.

As of June this year Oracle will have supported 10.7 for seven years and the successor to the product will have been out for five years, the company said. Nevertheless, about 2,300 of Oracle's approximately 13,000 applications customers still use 10.7, according to recent Oracle numbers.

The OAUG has no objections to the discontinuing of support for 10.7 later this year, Butler said.

"Through our efforts Oracle has extended the de-support date to June 30, 2003. Based on Oracle's efforts in quality and stability with the 11i platform, the OAUG remains comfortable with that date," Butler said. Version 11i is the current version of Oracle's applications suite.

To entice customers to upgrade, Oracle launched a program from Hewlett-Packard that includes discounts on hardware and tools, along with equipment trade-ins, for customers upgrading from version 10.7.

Oracle's applications suite includes a wide range of software to help companies run their business. It covers areas such as supply chain management, sales and marketing, finance and human resources.

Version 11i, also called the E-Business Suite, was launched in May 2000 and about 5,200 of Oracle's applications customers now run that version. A further 1,600 users have started to make the switch. About 3,500 customers are on some other version of 11, Oracle said recently.

(James Niccolai in San Francisco contributed to this story.)

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