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Oracle Takes Takeover Case to JD Edwards Users

Oracle will fight for its right to own PeopleSoft, and success will mean good things for J.D. Edwards customers, according to Oracle President Chuck Phillips.
Oracle will fight for its right to own PeopleSoft, and success will mean good things for J.D. Edwards customers, according to Oracle President Chuck Phillips.

Phillips, unlike his counterpart at PeopleSoft, trekked to Chicago Monday to address Quest, the independent J.D. Edwards user group.

PeopleSoft bought J.D. Edwards last summer. Oracle, despite government resistance, is continuing its hostile takeover attempt of PeopleSoft.

For the record, the user group does not support Oracle's bid, but it's not so happy with PeopleSoft either. PeopleSoft refused invitations to appear at Monday's meeting, said Barbara Schmidt, president of Quest and CTO of Minneapolis-based CNT.

"Quest is on record opposing the merger but we want to provide a neutral forum for factual information," Schmidt said, in introducing Phillips.

Phillips reiterated Oracle's insistence that a combined Oracle/PeopleSoft applications business "is good for competition, good for investors and good for customers."

To be sure, Oracle started off its PeopleSoft bid last June on rocky ground with PeopleSoft users. The company's initial public statements gave the impression that it was acquiring a customer base and would jettison actual products. It has been working to reverse that perception ever since.

Last week the U.S. Department of Justice, alleging that a merger would be anti-competitive, filed suit in San Francisco to stop the merger. Oracle responded that it would fight that assessment in court.

"It's pretty clear this acquisition is not on the fast track," Phillips conceded. But he maintained that Oracle will forge ahead and, if it succeeds, will continue to support both PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards customers and products. He again cited Oracle's continued support for Rdb customers. Oracle bought the Rdb database and technology from Digital Equipment Corp. a decade ago and continues to support it, Phillips said.

As for antitrust issues, the Justice Department in its objections cited concerns about human resources applications for enterprises. It is the government's burden to define the set of customers, and Oracle does not see a lot of situations where Oracle and PeopleSoft/J.D. Edwards are the sole product options. "People in the industry know there are many alternatives--Lawson, GEAC, SSA and others. That very large category of 'other' on the chart also represents competition and innovation," Phillips said.

Additionally, Microsoft has invested $2 billion into business applications, he noted. "We have some big competitors, and to compete, we need economies of scale."

Article appears courtesy of CRN.

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