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Eager to get its reputedly pricy technology into smaller businesses, Oracle has rolled out a reseller program to help with the midmarket push.

The Redwood Shores, Calif., database giant on Wednesday unveiled OPN (Oracle Partner Network) Access, an initiative geared toward resellers wanting to crack the SMB midmarket, and which slashes the price of joining in order to lure them in.

Resellers can join OPN Access for $300, a fee that gets them into OPN and gives them access to the tools and resources needed to resell the Oracle Standard Edition One family of products. That family includes Oracle Database 10g and Oracle Application Server 10g. The fee compares to full regular OPN membership fees of $2,000.

The tools include online product training, demand generation and market awareness. In addition, participants will be given access to Oracle Financing, through which Oracle provides financing and leasing for end users.

Joshua Greenbaum, an analyst at Enterprise Applications Consulting, said anything Oracle Corp. can do to broaden the reseller program is good, provided that the company is qualifying the resellers.

“There’s always the danger that any expansion of a reseller program will bring in the riffraff no vendor wants to have selling their products,” said Greenbaum, in Berkeley, Calif. “That riffraff can really do damage to a company’s reputation.”

Indeed, the bete noire for large vendors such as SAP AG and Oracle nowadays is to buy into the right channel program to make sure they can resell their products into the midmarket, he said.

“These big enterprise applications, to drive into the midmarket, need partners that can take the business focus and do a lot with it,” he said. “And they need to be companies that aren’t going to oversell and under-implement the product. That’s a real danger for the vendors. I always say you need to expand, but you need to expand in the right direction. Just having a lot of partners isn’t the right solution in itself.”

Click here to read about Oracle and Dell bundling in pursuit of the SMB market.

Indeed, outside of competing with Oracle, partnering was top of mind at SAP during the company’s board meeting this week, Greenbaum said.

Proof of that can be found in the company’s recent hire of George Paolini, the man credited with turning Java into the world’s largest third-party developer community.

SAP plugged Paolini into the position of senior vice president for platform ecosystem development in late March, charging him with taking SAP’s ISV partner program to the next level as it seeks to create community around its NetWeaver integration platform.

IBM, for its part, is trying to lure ISVs that focus on SMBs into its OnDemand ecosystem. This week, the company threw open the doors for free access to architectural consultations at its worldwide Virtual Innovation Center, which includes unlimited e-mail technical support for six months.