I reported earlier that Microsoft had met a challenge from Oracle, not only proving that SQL Server wasn't "100 times slower" than Oracle, but that it was, in fact, faster. Microsoft had beaten an Oracle benchmark significantly, but I've received word from several people that Oracle has since come in with a better benchmark than Microsoft. Oracle scored .70 seconds on the benchmark, using over $100 million worth of equipment. Meanwhile, Microsoft's score of 1.075 seconds required about $500,000 worth of hardware.
So... Where we stand is that Microsoft did, in fact, meet the Oracle challenge (i.e. its score is well under 100 times slower than Oracle) but Oracle has, as reported earlier, pulled the offer. So the point is moot, as they say. Sorry about the confusion.