PeopleSoft Declines to Scrap With Oracle at Quest Users Group Conference

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2004-02-16 Print this article Print

Oracle's Phillips has taken the J.D. Edwards users group up on an invitation to answer customer concerns about the takeover, while PeopleSoft has dismissed the conference as being the wrong venue at the wrong place and at the wrong time.

In an effort to answer customer concerns about the Oracle-PeopleSoft takeover, Quest, a non-profit J.D. Edwards users group, has invited both Oracle Corp. and PeopleSoft Inc. executives to address its Quest West user conference, which takes place Feb. 29-March 2 in San Diego. Oracle President Chuck Phillips has accepted the offer and will address the user group on March 1 at an as-yet-undetermined time, according to an Oracle spokeswoman.
In keeping with the rocky relations between PeopleSoft and the user group, the company has not taken the group up on the offer. The reason, according to Steve Swasey, a spokesman for PeopleSoft, of Pleasanton, Calif., is that the forum is all wrong as a venue. "Were not going to participate," Swasey said. "Theres no need to get into a tit-for-tat with Oracle. Its not the right venue, its not the right place, and its not the right time."
Relations between PeopleSoft and Quest soured over the past few months as the two have played tug-of-war over questions of who will run and support which conferences. According to Barb Schmit, Quest president and CIO of CNT, a solutions provider based in Minneapolis, much of the strain in the relationship boils down to incompatible cultures—i.e., the midmarket culture traditionally associated with J.D. Edwards customers, as opposed to the large enterprise market that forms a large percentage of PeopleSofts user base. "Its difficult when you go into a room full of people, and youre talking about product differences and trying to identify weaknesses within products that need to be addressed on a go-forward basis, and youre maybe a 1,000-employee company, and youre talking to somebody with maybe 50,000 employees," she said. "The question is, Do you have a big voice? Thats where the difference is between the midmarket and the enterprise. I understand its difficult to integrate [two companies and product sets]. Its difficult and costly to maintain two sets of software. But theres clearly some difference between the midmarket and the enterprise." Next page: Questions from J.D. Edwards customers.

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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