Oracle fined $11,500 over misleading ads

By Ian Williams on Oct 2, 2009 7:36 AM
Filed under Hardware

Unverified speed claims for server performance.

Oracle has been hit with a US$10,000 ($11,502) fine by the Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC) over claims made by the firm about the performance of Sun and Oracle servers.

A series of adverts entitled 'Sun + Oracle is Faster' appeared in The Wall Street Journal and The Economist promising significant improvements over the likes of IBM's Power 595 in a TPC-C benchmark.

The adverts and the associated Oracle web site, which has now been taken offline, stated that Oracle would have definitive figures to back up the claims on 14 October, but the lack of immediate proof sparked a complaint from IBM to the TPC.

The TPC is behind all the transaction processing and database benchmarks, and stated that it has no record of any test which would verify the claims made in the ads.

"The TPC requires that claims based on TPC benchmarks must be demonstrable using publicly available data from official TPC benchmark results," said a TPC spokesman.

In a letter to Oracle (PDF), the TPC said that the company had made "unsubstantiated superior performance claims about an Oracle/Sun configuration relative to an official TPC-C result from IBM".

As a result, the TPC ruled that the advertisement had violated its fair use rules and imposed the fine.

The TPC has also ordered Oracle to "take all steps necessary to ensure that the ad will not be published again", and to remove the contents of the related promotional web site.

Oracle is in the process of acquiring Sun Microsystems, but the deal is being delayed by an in-depth investigation by European regulators.

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