Matthew Aslett at Business Review Online has a summary of two surveys relevant to Red Hat customers. Some interesting points:

Of 54 Red hat customers interviewed by First Albany:
– 31% plan to use Oracle’s offerings as negotiation leverage against Red Hat during the next sales cycle.

Of 86 Red Hat customers interviewed by Pacific Crest:
– 64% said a discount would be ‘very important’ to keep them as a Red Hat customer
– 3% said a discount was ‘not at all important’ to remain a Red Hat customer

– 27% said they would remain Red Hat customers for a discount of 1%-24%
– 37% said they would remain Red Hat customers for a discount of 25%-49%
– 31% said they would remain Red Hat customers for a discount of 50%-74%

Customers often play competing vendors against their preferred vendor in order to get healthy discounts. I have experience with customers who did this with JBoss against BEA & WebSphere. A large degree of the “we’re considering JBoss” negotiation tactic was offset when we introduced WAS CE & support for Apache Geronimo.  Customers who were “considering JBoss” are now considering and using WAS CE. We’re finding that most customers use WAS CE along with other products from the WebSphere Application Server family.  It’s not an either/or discussion. It’s more about using the right product for the right need. As a result, our WAS Family revenue has grown substantially higher than the market rate.

How Red Hat reacts will be an interesting study of their maturing business strategy.