Ho isnt convinced. "Its the same script. Its everything Ive heard before," he said. "They say theyll develop point releases, but how realistic is that? Theyre got [Oracle11i], theyll want to bring people to the Oracle database and applications. Theyd have to have two separate support organizations, two product development areas. They synergy would be to bring together the two. I highly doubt theyll support both. Whenever any software company buys another software company, you integrate the technologies eventually so you dont have the redundancy in all the organizations." Ricoh Electronics is a Microsoft Corp. SQL Server shop. Its financial system runs on J.D. Edwards & Co. software, on IBM AS/400 machines. If push comes to shove and Oracle fails to adequately support its competitors databases following a merger, the company would likely evaluate other applications beside J.D. Edwards, Ho said, but the database would be a constant. "Wed migrate the application, because the database isnt the issue," he said. "[Oracles database] is so much more expensive than SQL Server."The anonymous HR systems manager had a longer laundry list of whats missing from Oracles applications. "Position control wasnt good [when we evaluated Oracle applications]," he said. "Flex salary wasnt there. Benefits area was weak. Data-entry processes for mid-year increases and health-care reimbursement was weak. Vacation-buying premiums was weak." Indeed, PeopleSoft customer outrage at the idea of a shotgun wedding reaches down to a gut reaction against whats perceived as the squelching of competition and the American way of life. "Not to get too motherhood and apple pie, but its almost un-American to limit the choices when clearly we need multiple choices," said the anonymous user. "We dont need just one or two vendors we have to go to to get our needs met. Eliminating choices smacks of antitrust issues. The Department of Justice needs to take a strong, hard look at this. It isnt right. It just isnt a good thing for the industry."
Customers were also unhappy with the idea of being forced onto an applications suite they view as being far inferior to PeopleSofts. For Ho, the issue is how a given vendor handles the higher-education sector. "PeopleSoft is strong in Student Administration, and Oracle doesnt have a solution to that," he said. "Thats a big complaint of most customers or people in the higher-education groups."