Forrester VP: Judge Should Block Oracle Takeover Of PeopleSoft

Says takeover would hurt customers by "virtually eliminating further innovation of the PeopleSoft product lines."
A Forrester Research analyst has come out strongly against Oracle's acquisition of PeopleSoft, a case now before the courts. In "DOJ-Oracle Trial: Down to the Wire," Forrester vice president Paul Hamerman writes that enterprise applications customers will suffer if the takeover succeeds.

"In the final analysis, we believe that applications customers would be better served by a ruling that blocks the takeover attempt," Hamerman writes. "Oracle's plan to dismantle PeopleSoft, should it succeed, would take a leading choice off the table, as well as impact existing customers by virtually eliminating further innovation of the PeopleSoft product lines."

Largely agreeing with the Department of Justice's analysis, Hamerman notes that "the market for high-end HR and financial management systems does indeed have three dominant players - currently and for the foreseeable future." Oracle's acquisition of PeopleSoft would combine two of those vendors, creating a monopolistic 800-pound gorilla in the North American enterprise applications market.

However, Hamerman sees a flaw, "though perhaps not a fatal one," in the DoJ's case. By limiting its focus to the North American market, the DoJ minimizes the importance of European powerhouse SAP. Oracle argues that the market is global, and with that perspective, its takeover appears less ominous.

In the meantime, Hamerman recommends that PeopleSoft customers continue with business as usual. Nevertheless, while he notes "PeopleSoft customers can move forward with upgrade plans and maintenance contract renewals," he suggests that they move forward with caution. Customers should consider the impact of any court decision before negotiating new licenses, and try to obtain the maximum amount of Customer Assurance Plan protection, to be paid out by Oracle in the event of a successful takeover.