IBM responds to Oracle smack talk with barbed sales pitch

Big Blue's Stop, Think, and Save program aims to lure Oracle customers facing 'high software costs,' 'uncertain' Sparc road map

No doubt as a symbol of gratitude to Larry Ellison and friends for the, er, publicity they've given IBM this past week at Oracle OpenWorld, Big Blue today returned the favor by announcing a program called Stop, Think, and Save through which the company offers to assess potential savings and provide a migration plan for companies considering moving from Oracle wares to IBM DB2 and WebSphere on shiny new IBM hardware.

Big Blue invoked all the familiar arguments against Oracle here, faulting its nemesis for high software costs, pricey one-size-fits-all configurations, and restrictive agreements while dangling the possibility of saving up to 50 percent on IT costs.

Notably, Big Blue isn't just targeting Oracle; the company also called out struggling HP while injecting a touch of fear in its pitch, noting that businesses should consider its offerings at a time when, in Big Blue's words, there's "uncertainty surrounding Sparc and Itanium road maps."

The timing of IBM's barbed announcement doesn't appear particularly coincidental: OpenWorld runs this week in San Francisco, and CEO Ellison has used the forum to perpetuate his assault on IBM as Oracle strives to play catch-up with its rival on such fronts as microprocessors and Big Data.

For example, Ellison boasted that Sparc chips beats IBM's Power chips when it comes to running Java while deriding IBM's claim to fame that its chips are better at number-crunching (earning higher marks on SPECint2006 integer benchmarks).

"We're faster for Java, Mister Blue," Ellison said. "You're faster for integer arithmetic. If you think companies do a lot of arithmetic, cool. We think they access a lot of data and run a lot of Java."

"We're better than IBM in Java, and we're going to beat them in integer arithmetic, and then there will be nothing left," he went on to say.

In terms of Big Data, Oracle unveiled its new Exalytics business intelligence appliance, as well as a new Big Data Appliance.

Whether or not organizations will leap on IBM's Stop, Think, and Save program remains to be seen. There doesn't appear to be much meat behind it; presumably until now, any company seriously considering migrating to IBM wares probably could have gotten a quote and a migration plan from Big Blue to help spur their decision. Rather, the announcement comes off as more of a slap in the face (or smack on the nose) to Ellison.

This story, "IBM responds to Oracle smack talk with a barbed sales pitch," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.