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7/11/2004
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Oracle: Justice Failed To Make Its Case

Software vendor says in a filing that the government didn't prove its proposed acquisition of PeopleSoft would reduce competition. The Justice Department, however, cites substantial anti-competitive effects from an acquisition.

In a post-trial filing Friday, Oracle said the U.S. Department of Justice failed to prove that an Oracle acquisition of PeopleSoft Inc. will reduce competition in the enterprise application software market.

The 51-page document, called the "proposed conclusions of law," challenges the product and geographic market definitions on which the U.S. Justice Department based its case and says Oracle's proposed $7.7 billion acquisition of PeopleSoft will not reduce customers' buying power.

The document also argues that any possible harm current PeopleSoft customers might suffer through an acquisition, including migration costs and higher maintenance fees, "do not relate to any alleged competition-reducing effects" of the acquisition and have no relevance to the antitrust case.

In its own post-trial filing, the Justice Department said an Oracle takeover of PeopleSoft would likely result in "substantial anti-competitive effects" by reducing competition in the market for high-end financial reporting and human-resources applications. The government also argued that Oracle failed to prove that current or potential competition from Microsoft, Lawson Software, and other vendors would make up for the lost competition if Oracle buys PeopleSoft.

Closing arguments in the case are scheduled for July 20 with a ruling expected sometime in August or September.

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