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Oracle President To Meet With PeopleSoft Execs Wednesday

Phillips foresees completing the takeover by Dec. 30 and seeks to allay customer and reseller worries.

Oracle president Charles Phillips will journey up the road to PeopleSoft Inc.'s Pleasanton, Calif., headquarters Wednesday to meet with PeopleSoft executives and begin developing plans for Oracle's takeover of the application vendor.

In a conference call with reporters Tuesday, Phillips called the pending buyout "a very strategic acquisition" for Oracle that will set new terms of competition for Oracle competitors, including IBM and SAP.

Asked how many of PeopleSoft's 11,600 employees Oracle is likely to retain, Phillips said, "I don't have a hard number for you at the moment." But not all employees are considered equal after the takeover. "As a matter of emphasis, we have more interest in keeping the developers and support organization [personnel] than administrators," Phillips said

Asked about PeopleSoft's pact to integrate its technology with IBM, Phillips said Oracle did not know the details of the agreement. "It's not clear what PeopleSoft committed to do with [IBM application server] WebSphere. We're not sure they signed a contract. We have a strong application server that we think is better. We are not interested in adding more IBM technology to the stack," he said.

Phillips extended an olive branch to other PeopleSoft partners, however. PeopleSoft resellers in particular have access to "smaller customers that Oracle can't reach with its direct-sales staff. We would like to retain them," he said. But he added that Oracle would expect such resellers to also consider reselling Oracle's Special Edition line of software for small and midsize businesses and offer "multiple products" instead of just J.D. Edwards or PeopleSoft products.

PeopleSoft leads the market with its payroll application for federal government agencies, Phillips conceded, and Oracle is interested in making a special effort to retain those customers. PeopleSoft in general has a strong presence in federal, state, and local governments, he acknowledged.

Oracle expects to "have the keys" to PeopleSoft headquarters by Dec. 30 and plans for the merger of the two companies to be complete by then. At the same time, Phillips repeated Oracle's earlier-stated commitments to PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards. Oracle, for example, will bring out version 9.0 of PeopleSoft applications and version 6.0 of J.D. Edwards applications. While Oracle is ultimately interested in merging the product lines into Oracle's E-Business Suite of applications, Phillips added that Oracle would support PeopleSoft applications for 10 years.

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