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Oracle slices $50m off Rimini in bloody battle over cut-price support

Damages is a huge chunk of indie vendor's finances

Rimini Street, which touts bargain-basement software support for apps from Oracle and others, must pay US$50m to the database giant after losing a five-year legal fight.

Nevada-based Rimini offers support for Oracle's enterprise products at rates as much as 50 per cent lower than Oracle's own, including support for JD Edwards, PeopleSoft, and Siebel-branded gear.

As Oracle customers know, when you buy a license, a further fifth or so of the price tag is usually spent on support and updates. Rimini bragged it could undercut Oracle on that extra cost by providing all that stuff on its own.

In 2010, Big Red sued [PDF] Rimini Street and its founder and CEO Seth Ravin for allegedly engaging in "massive theft" by downloading support materials from Oracle's websites, and then providing that material to its own clients without a proper license.

Essentially, Rimini Street operated servers that hosted Oracle Database for Windows for clients and grabbed support and updates for them from Oracle's websites that are available only to logged-in customers. Oracle argued Rimini did not own a license and was not authorized to copy this information, and was not allowed to run the database software on its clients' behalf.

On Tuesday this week, a jury in Las Vegas awarded Oracle US$50m in damages, somewhat less than the $210m or so Big Red hoped to bank. Rimini Street has since stopped hosting Oracle database.

"We were pleased to finally get our day in court," said Ravin in a statement to the media.

"As Oracle and Rimini Street agree, there is no dispute that third party support for enterprise software is permitted for Oracle licensees to purchase and for Rimini Street to offer. This case was about a good-faith license dispute regarding processes no longer in use."

Rimini Street announced its latest financials on Tuesday, which will put that damages bill in context: the biz banked $30.8m in sales for the third quarter of 2015, up 38 per cent year on year, from 1,164 clients.

Oracle now hopes to get an injunction against Rimini Street, and get the indie support vendor to pick up its legal bills. "We look forward to the next stage of our legal proceedings with Rimini Street," an Oracle spokesperson added. ®

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