Oracle has cut off essential technical services to Eskom following a payment dispute, but the impact on the power producer’s operations has been minimal.
The payment dispute arose after Eskom allegedly added modules and users to their Oracle software services without paying the required license fees.
An audit by Oracle revealed abuse by Eskom and the software giant initially claimed Eskom underpaid by R7.3 billion.
Following discussions between the parties the amount was lowered to R380 million. Eskom, however, said it only owes Oracle R166 million.
Oracle threatened to cut off essential technical services to the power utility unless it settles the outstanding R380 million.
Eskom responded by launching an urgent court application to compel Oracle to continue providing technical support amidst the payment spat.
The Johannesburg High Court dismissed Eskom’s application, and shortly afterwards Oracle cut its essential technical services to Eskom.
In its court application Eskom warned of “catastrophic consequences” if Oracle withdrew its support services.
Eskom said it could affect its ability to supply electricity to South Africa which will have a crippling effect on the economy.
To date the impact of Oracle’s decision to discontinue its support services has, however, been minimal.
Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha confirmed that Oracle has cut off technical support services after their legal victory.
“Oracle’s technical support services have not been available to Eskom over the past week,” Mantshantsha told Bruce Whitfield on The Money Show.
Eskom has now implemented contingency plans which it developed in preparation for this scenario.
Mantshantsha said at this stage there has not be a “very big impact” on Eskom’s operations.
This is partly because Oracle’s support was a supplement to Eskom’s internal teams who have been working with the software for more than 20 years.
“We have activated those teams and they are holding the fort at the moment,” said Mantshantsha.
This raises the question whether the Oracle technical support services were necessary in the first place.
Mantshantsha said it is undoubtedly necessary to have the technical expertise of companies like Oracle to resolve problems with their software.
“We will continue to require such services and as such Eskom has embarked on an urgent procurement process to find the technical skills to replace Oracle,” he said.
Oracle’s decision to terminate its technical support services adds risk to electricity supply in South Africa, but Mantshantsha said they do not rely entirely on the experts from Oracle.
“There is a risk which Eskom has put mitigation measures in for…but we are able to operate without their support for now,” he said.
Eskom dismissed concerns that other providers will be hesitant to work with Eskom following this debacle.
“Any supplier which enters into business with Eskom can expect that Eskom will always honour its contractual obligations,” said Mantshantsha.
Oracle has been mum on the matter, only saying “Eskom should pay the pending dues for the Oracle software that they use”.
By Roxanne Henderson for Bloomberg
Eskom Holdings has taken steps to protect its operations from disruptions after a contractual dispute with Oracle Corp.’s South African unit put its technical support services at risk.
The state power utility confirmed on Monday that it’s involved in the disagreement in which Oracle initially claimed Eskom underpaid it by about 7.3 billion rand ($500 million). While the amount was later reduced between the parties, Oracle rejected Eskom’s settlement offer of 166 million rand and threatened to terminate its services, the power utility said in an emailed statement.
Eskom has “assessed the risks in the event of Oracle withdrawing” its services and put interim processes in place “to reduce the risks of its operations being disrupted”, it said.
Eskom approached a South African court to compel Oracle to continue its technical support services until April 2022 but its application was dismissed last week, it said. It intends to seek leave to appeal.
Debt-laden Eskom is already under pressure from creditors and has struggled for years to provide reliable power, leading to disruptions that ripple through Africa’s most industrialised economy.
By Kate Duffy for Business Insider US
Health and tech giants are together creating digital vaccination passports so people can prove they’ve had a Covid-19 shot.
Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, Cerner, Epic Systems, and the Mayo Clinic are all part of the Vaccination Credential Initiative (VIC).
These could be useful for airplanes, going to work, to school, to the grocery store, to live concerts, or to sporting events.
Major companies, health organisations, and nonprofits announced Thursday morning that they were working together to create a digital vaccination passport, in anticipation of people having to prove their immunisation status.
The Vaccination Credential Initiative (VIC), a coalition of organisations including Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, Cerner, Epic Systems, and the Mayo Clinic, are developing tech standards to verify whether someone has had their vaccine, it said in a statement Thursday.
The tech will help prevent people falsely claiming to be immune to the deadly virus, it said.
The VIC said that people without smartphones could receive printed QR codes on paper to verify they’ve had the shot.
“The goal of the Vaccination Credential Initiative is to empower individuals with digital access to their vaccination records so they can use tools like CommonPass to safely return to travel, work, school, and life, while protecting their data privacy,” said Paul Meyer, CEO of The Commons Project Foundation, a nonprofit in Geneva which is a member of the VIC.
“For some period of time, most all of us are going to have to demonstrate either negative Covid-19 testing or an up-to-date vaccination status to go about the normal routines of our lives,” Dr. Brad Perkins, the chief medical officer at the Commons Project Foundation, told the New York Times.
That will happen, Dr. Perkins added, “whether it’s getting on an airplane and going to a different country, whether it’s going to work, to school, to the grocery store, to live concerts or sporting events.”
By Laura He for CNN Business
Two prominent Chinese media outlets are urging Beijing to kill what they call a “dirty” and “unpalatable” deal intended to keep TikTok operating in the United States.
The editorial boards of China Daily and the Global Times — both state-run publications — this week blasted an arrangement that would give American companies at least some ownership in the short-form video app. TikTok’s parent company ByteDance is based in Beijing.
“What the United States has done to TikTok is almost the same as a gangster forcing an unreasonable and unfair business deal on a legitimate company,” China Daily wrote in an editorial published Wednesday, which called the deal a “dirty and underhanded trick.”
The terms of the tentative deal for China’s most successful global app have caused a lot of confusion.
The initial announcement last weekend implied that ByteDance would continue to own a majority of Tiktok going forward, raising questions about how that could resolve the Trump administration’s national security concerns about Chinese control of the app and its data.
But Trump has since indicated that investors Walmart (WMT) and Oracle (ORCL) would “own the controlling interest.” A person familiar with the deal told CNN Business earlier this week that a new US entity — TikTok Global — will be partially owned by ByteDance’s international and Chinese investors, but that ByteDance itself will hold zero percent of the company to be created by the deal to run the app outside of China.
“It seems as if TikTok can remain in the US. But only if ByteDance allows Oracle and Walmart to effectively take over the company,” China Daily added. “China has no reason to give the green light to such a deal.”
The Global Times, a state-run tabloid, also slammed the deal this week in two editorials calling on Chinese regulators to block it.
“It’s hard for us to believe that Beijing will approve such an agreement,” the Global Times wrote in one editorial. In a second piece titled “TikTok extortion deal is unpalatable gambit,” the publication added that “we should not let Washington control the lifeline of China’s technological development in the future. ”
Chinese state media is a powerful tool in the country’s propaganda machine, and the various outlets and their editorials are often looked upon as barometers of sentiment among senior officials. Some publications, like the Global Times, are more hawkish than others.
Notably, the China Daily and Global Times editorials were published in English — an indication that the TikTok editorials are likely intended for an overseas audience. State media editorials in China may also act as trial balloons for ideas, or to send a message to Western governments. (China Daily is an English-language paper, but Global Times also has a much more popular Chinese edition. Similar editorials were published in that edition, too.)
The extent to which Beijing still needs to review the deal is also not entirely clear.
Last month, Chinese regulators introduced new rules that govern the sale of certain kinds of technology to foreign buyers — a change that experts pointed out would likely require ByteDance to obtain government permission before selling TikTok to a foreign company. ByteDance has said that Oracle would be able to review the app’s source code, but that the deal does not involve the transfer of its algorithms and technologies.
A source familiar with the negotiations, meanwhile, told CNN Business this week that ByteDance isn’t concerned about regulatory approval from China. The source said there are still a few details left to sort out in the United States, indicating optimism that the deal could still close despite the media and political firestorm.
Selina Wang contributed to this report.