By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2003-09-04 Print this article Print

s PeopleSoft Bid: A Distraction?"> A lot of the focus on Oracle lately has been with your push to purchase PeopleSoft. I wanted to talk a bit about why that is so important, particularly on the applications side of the business, and to get a sense of just how critical that effort is to the direction youre going on the applications side. Phillips: Well, we think the applications business is going to do well with or without PeopleSoft. Do we want more customers, and does that continue to move the ball forward if we acquire additional customers? Yes. Would it be a good thing for our shareholders, for PeopleSoft shareholders and for customers? Yes. If it doesnt happen, will we continue to move forward? Of course. So I think you have to put it in context. Mergers and acquisitions happen to be a part of our strategy in the past and probably will be in the future as well, but I cant point to any one thats going to be make or break for us. So there was not a make-or-break strategy in the bid? It was more of a "like to have"?
Phillips: It was another business opportunity that we evaluated that made sense to do. And thats the way we evaluate all these acquisitions. Its time, opportunity, cost and whether its additive to our strategy. It doesnt replace our strategy. It certainly can add if we buy the right company. And thats kind of one more thing in your bag in terms of generating growth and gaining market share. In the week were just ending here, Oracle extended its offer again for PeopleSoft. How long is Oracle really prepared to continue these kinds of extensions? At what point do you decide to move beyond it? Phillips: A lot of these extensions are customary. Its kind of the way these things are designed. So I wouldnt read too much into any single extension. We are continuing our effort to acquire PeopleSoft. There are some regulatory hurdles that we are going to deal with. … And well see what the regulators say. I know youve said in the past you expect the Department of Justice to be done in November? Phillips: We cant be sure on a time frame, but thats our best guess at this point. Probably late November. How much importance is that in your guidance of what to do? Phillips: We dont control the schedule. Based on what we know now, thats when we get an answer. Its not really a secret that a lot of the PeopleSoft customers have been leery of the takeover, but I know some Oracle customers as well have been telling me that while theyre happy with the product direction at Oracle, theyre concerned that the focus on acquisitions could consume time and maybe distract from development. Has this caused any distraction in your development? Phillips: Zero. Theres nothing development needed to be doing for this. There are a small number of people involved in the acquisition. Even today theres not a lot we can do in the near term other than to let the regulators do their analysis. So, in the meantime, we have a business to run, so thats what were doing. Are there any specific ways you try to ensure its not a distraction? I know you mentioned there are only a few people dedicated to it, but are there other efforts youve made within the company? Phillips: Weve done 30 acquisitions before. Its not like this is total stage fright for us. There (are) procedures in place. People have done this a long time, and the people who should be paying attention to it are and everybody else is doing what they get paid to do. Discuss this in the eWeek forum. Next page: How can Oracle build sales?

Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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