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Issue of February 2003 
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Oracle's upgrade call

Oracle in its annual business applications conference AppsWorld, urged its customers to move to a new version of the company's software soon, or lose support. The push to upgrade was also the theme at last year's AppsWorld conference.

But the call is now more urgent. Oracle plans to discontinue support for previous versions of its business software at the end of June. Customers who haven't switched to either version 11i or version 11.0 will be stranded without technical support for their business systems.

At the same conference last April, Oracle reported that only 10 percent of its applications customers were upgrading to 11i. In this year's conference, the company said 75 percent are either upgrading their software or have already completed the move. Oracle has around 13,000 applications customers.

Oracle and its partners launched several new programs to encourage customers to move to the new version. The company introduced a special pre-tested and pre-configured bundling of its software with an application called Oracle Business Flow Accelerators.

The bundle is designed to help companies upgrade more quickly, or set up Oracle applications for the first time. This project has reportedly taken some customers more than a year to complete.

Many companies on older versions of Oracle's software are migrating from the 10.7 release, which the company will no longer support after June. It has offered support for 10.7 version for seven years, far longer than most companies support their software.

While software companies routinely discontinue support for old products, forcing their clients to upgrade or go without support, Oracle has had a particularly hard time getting customers to accept 11i.

The June upgrade deadline has drawn criticism because of a confluence of three unusual circumstances: initial problems with the new software, a weakened economy that has crimped information technology budgets, and the complexity of upgrading to 11i.

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