Oracle recently made changes to the Oracle Java SE subscription model, which experts have accused of being a “predatory” licensing strategy, which could force companies to pay tens of thousands of dollars more per month to run the same software.
Industry experts say the new model, under which companies using Java will have to buy software licenses for each “employee,” is a dramatic shift from the previous model.
Oracle, which acquired Sun Microsystems, which includes Java, in 2009, said the new Java SE Universal Subscription is “a simple, low-cost monthly subscription that includes Java SE licensing and support for desktop, server or cloud deployments. Customers of traditional Java SE subscription offerings continue to receive all of the original benefits and can renew their subscriptions based on their existing terms and metrics.”
Oracle has included a price list that shows the key difference between the old and new models is that Java will be licensed on a per “employee” basis, rather than a per “user” or per processor basis, as the old model allowed.
While Oracle has promised to allow legacy users to renew under their current contracts, over time it may put pressure on users to adopt the new model.
This shift will penalize companies that have spent years minimizing their Java usage by finding that they are charged on a “per employee” basis regardless of how much Java they use.
For example, a customer using the Oracle Java Universal License now has new pricing and their Java costs have gone up tenfold. For companies using Java, the expense will increase by an average of 2 to 4 times.
“Oracle can monitor not only the download of the software but also the installation and operation of Java. So we can advertise the new subscription model to customers using Java in advance.”
Nathan Biggs, CEO of House of Bricks, estimates that a company with 250 employees, 20 Java desktop users, and 8 Java-installed processors would pay $3,000 a year under the old model (about 20,340 CNY currently) in the new one. Under the subscription model, the annual expenditure has grown to $45,000 (currently about 305,000 CNY), an increase of 1400%.
“What this means for organizations is that companies must now count every employee, contractor, consultant and agent to determine the Java subscription bill, regardless of Java user or server usage. Companies are potentially on the hook for significant increases in subscription costs, which can have a significant impact on operations.”