For years now there's been a constant war between Microsoft supporters and Oracle supporters. Oracle has these features, SQL Server has these features, etc. But that's not really where the real importance lies. Sure, functionality is a part of it because your database should be able to do what you need it to do. However, do you want to know what the real difference between the two companies is and why Microsoft has made such a strong impact in the industry?
The answer is simple: information. Microsoft has built such a strong community and its members are committed to helping each other. There are so many forums out there you just don't have time to go to them all. And one of the most amazing things I've found is that the MSDN forums are actually sharked by Microsoft's own PSS and dev teams. You just can't get any better than that. You've got both the guys on the support team, and the guys who actually write the code helping you with your problem. You've got MVPs out there writing new and exciting books like crazy. They're really giving up all the secrets on how SQL works, and what you can do with it.
Oracle is still living in the old days where everything is a good ole boys club. This is the world of Linux and Unix where they started, and it's a dinosaur, man. You just can't afford to do business like that anymore. You have to open up your community and start programs to encourage your best people to help and teach.
If you take any 10 DBAs from each side and ask them to look up a solution to a problem on their platform, the SQL guys will find the answer much faster than the Oracle guys will. And that's just a fact. If you're looking on specifics on how Oracle works internally, it's almost impossible to ferret out the info, but with SQL, there are so many open resources it's just a matter of a few minutes to an answer.
Microsoft also has a Connect Web site where users can enter in bugs and feature requests, and these requests go straight to the dev team. Your voice gets heard.
So the real difference between these two platforms is community. Microsoft has gone to great lengths to build a community and really support it. And Oracle is still doing business the old way. It's almost like Oracle's still proud that they're holding on to the good ole boys club. They're proud of how complicated everything has to be in Oracle. Knowledge is for the few and the special. And this attitude is pervasive in third-party vendors as well. Look at all the vendors out there making video training. I haven't seen any for Oracle, but SQL has tons. OK, I've seen a couple for Oracle, but they're all that old style CBT from the 1990s. But there aren't any high-level Oracle people out there making video training that's affordable for the end user.