Craig Owes Larry a Big Thank-You

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2003-11-26 Print this article Print

Without Oracle's annoying molestations, PeopleSoft customers would miss out on a fast JDE acquisition, the CAP and the bonding of besiegement.

This Thanksgiving, PeopleSoft customers across the land should bow their heads and remember Larry Ellison, Jeff Henley and Chuck Phillips in their prayers. Why? Think about it: Who has been kinder to PeopleSoft over the past year? Who has paid more focused attention to the king of Human Resources software? Who has lit a hotter fire under PeopleSoft CEO Craig Conways butt, spurring him and his team to spin a fast J.D. Edwards product integration plan and coming up with a Customer Assurance Program that has PeopleSoft users tucking themselves in at night feeling warm, loved and well-taken-care-of? Nobody, Im telling you, simply nobody.

I know what youre thinking, and youre right. Its true, Oracles big brass have been a tad harsh in their wooing. Oracles Chief Financial Officer Henley on Monday majorly dissed the CAP (Customer Assurance Program), a program that would refund customers between two and five times their license fee if PeopleSoft is acquired and the acquiring company discontinues support of PeopleSofts e-business software. Henley, in a conference call to financial analysts and the press, reiterated Oracles commitment to swallowing PeopleSoft (demonstrating that pitbulls are considered merely cuddly in Oracles home base of Redwood Shores). Henley went on to say that the CAP, rather than being a balm and a comfort to PeopleSoft users in these uncertain times, is actually a $156 million hatchet hovering over their necks.

"PeopleSoft has said it committed itself to approximately $156 million in refunds. Our concerns start with revenue recognition, since [their CAP] can be triggered without an acquisition. It could be an obligation to PeopleSoft," Henley said. "We believe they have a revenue recognition problem."

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A "revenue recognition problem?" As in, PeopleSoft is in denial about its revenues because the company itself has engineered a refund program that could spell out its own doom? As in, the bedrock of PeopleSofts financially successful recent quarters is really quicksand, because a program it created may, hypothetically, in spite of PeopleSofts careful tinkering and rejiggering of it, turn around and bite it to death?

Right. PeopleSofts in denial. As opposed to Oracle, which is still sticking to its low offering price of $19.50 per share, even while Oracle was selling at $21.6 per share on Tuesday. Now, lets see: Which one of the two companies is it that needs to stretch out on the shrinks couch to discuss their delusional state of denial?

Next page: Analysts say Oracle helped PeopleSoft to get its act in order.

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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