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Will Oracle And Its User Group Kiss And Make Up?

The first signs of a possible end to the family feud between the vendor and its user group are seen at Oracle Applications User Group meeting.
The family feud between Oracle and members of its extremely vocal extended family, the Oracle Applications User Group, might not yet have ended in kisses and hugs, but at least they've stopped acting like the Hatfields and the McCoys. In what may be the first signs of a family reunion, Oracle sent Cliff Godwin, VP of applications technology, to the group's meeting in San Diego this week--something of a reversal of its recent policy toward such meetings.

Until late last year, Oracle had used the group's conferences to unveil products and enhancements, and the company had hosted dozens of user-oriented sessions chaired by as many as 50 execs and developers.

Oracle then stopped providing content for the user group's meetings and asked it to fold its activities into Oracle's AppsWorld conferences, which the group dismissed. Last week, the group was surprised when Oracle notified it that Godwin would speak at a seminar on upgrading from version 10 of Oracle's application suite to its new 11i E-Business Suite.

Oracle Applications User Group president Jeremy Young says the group is hopeful that Godwin's attendance signals a return to Oracle's participation in its meetings. An Oracle spokesman says sending Godwin signals a return to an era of cooperation between the company and its user group. For example, the group will participate in Oracle's AppsWorld conference by selecting about 20% of user content. However, Oracle says it's evaluating whether it will provide execs and developers for future user group conferences.