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Ellison To Discuss Microsoft Concerns During Testimony

The Oracle CEO will testify about his growing concern about Microsoft on Wednesday at the antitrust trial over his company's efforts to acquire PeopleSoft

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison is going to bring up his increasing concern about Microsoft entering the high-end business software market during his testimony at Oracle's antitrust trial, the software maker's lead attorney said Tuesday.

Oracle is trying to acquire PeopleSoft Inc., one of its rivals in the high-end business apps market.

When asked what Ellison would discuss during his testimony on Wednesday, Daniel Wall told InformationWeek that Ellison "will focus on the real purpose of the acquisition and the strategic purpose of the acquisition. We spent the last four weeks in a pretend world where the price of human-resources and financial-management software is all we cared about."

During the first two weeks of the trial, Oracle has been trying to pound home the point that Microsoft is preparing to make a major move into the back-end software market. . Oracle also contends that other vendors should be included in the high-end market. The Justice Department contends that there are only three major players in the market--Oracle, PeopleSoft, and SAP, and that allowing Oracle to acquire PeopleSoft would be harmful to customers, resulting in higher prices.

Wall said Ellison also is likely to talk about PeopleSoft's R&D group. "They have a lot of people over there who know what's going on and Oracle is very interested in retaining their apps people," Wall said.

The government is taking a wait-and-see stance in determining what it will ask Ellison during its cross-examination. Government attorney Claude Scott "is still trying to figure that out," said Renata Hesse, a Justice Department attorney, when asked what the government will emphasize in its questioning. "And I'm not kidding. I'm serious." She said the government was not sure what matters Ellison would bring up in his testimony.

The Justice Department spent most of the afternoon Tuesday during its cross-examination of Oracle expert witness Jerry Hausman, a professor of economics at MIT, raising discrepancies between his research and testimony.

On some occasions, Hausman's taped deposition differed with his testimony before the court on Monday. Hausman explained the differences by replying that, "I've learned some things" over the course of the trial.

The Justice Department also displayed reports with differing data in regards to potential price increases by Oracle stemming from an Oracle/PeopleSoft merger.

Probably the most compelling admission the government pulled from Hausman was his confirmation that as a result of having competition in the marketplace, during the current bidding process Oracle is forced to offer an additional 10% discount when PeopleSoft is the second bidder and an additional 9% discount when SAP is the second bidder. These figures differed with a document Hausman previously offered the court indicating that SAP as a second bidder causes Oracle to offer customers a 6% discount and PeopleSoft causes Oracle to offer a 2% discount.

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