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By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2003-07-17 Print this article Print

Phillips said the confusion about these apparently contradictory statements hinges on the phrase "actively selling." "Most software companies lose money selling new licenses," he said. "They make money on support and maintenance. If you look at PeopleSofts numbers for the first quarter, they had $81 million in licensing revenues, $21 million for sales and marketing. Thats not unusual. The expensive part of the business is trying to chase new customers. Servicing existing customers is where the profits are. Given where we are at this stage of maturity, there are few new customers [in the enterprise resource planning market]. "It appears that Larry Ellisons original comments may conflict [with later Oracle announcements regarding continued product sales]. Its about the focus on actively selling. It doesnt mean that were not supporting or enhancing [PeopleSoft products]," he said. "Existing customers shouldnt be concerned whether were losing money trying to land new customers. Theyll get more out of it because well focus on them."
Phillips also assured listeners that should PeopleSofts intended purchase of J.D. Edwards successfully close at midnight on Thursday, J.D. Edwards customers would be treated in the same manner as PeopleSoft customers.
Other customer concerns involved continued development effort on the next iteration of PeopleSoft, which would be called PeopleSoft 9 if no Oracle takeover were to take place. Phillips vowed to continue work on enhancements as required by customers but said that the next iteration could be called something other than Version 9. When asked how well Oracle could support customers running PeopleSoft applications on non-Oracle databases such as IBMs DB2 or Informix, Microsoft Corp.s SQL Server, or Sybase Inc.s ASE, Phillips replied that Oracle is already involved in multivendor support environments every day. "We support virtually every application thats out there," he said. "Most of our customers run SAP, PeopleSoft, whatever. We have one of the largest support organizations in the world, and well also acquire PeopleSofts support organization as well."

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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