Another issue in making the case that the high-end market is dominated by three players is the question of scalability. The top three can scale out to hundreds of hundreds of users. They also can handle large volumes of data. Compare them with Microsofts Great Plains software, which is a Windows-based client/server system that doesnt scale to the degree needed by a large company, nor does it have functional depth in strategic HR functions. Another area that separates larger vendors is self-service capabilities. After all, a large part of the value proposition is eliminating paperwork and the need for humans having to get their hands on this stuff."I cant call how its going to play out," he told me. "The DOJ arguments on the surface make sense to me, but theres some murkiness around definition of terms and of the market, and whether the court will hold that market definition valid in stopping this particular combination." It sure has been interesting. The sales presentations have been fun in particular. "Attack PeopleSoft," anybody? Oh, those Oracle salespeople. Theyre so high-spirited. Oracle sought the advice of Computer Associates Sanjay Kumar regarding how to get DOJ clearance on its PeopleSoft bid. Click here to read more. As far as reading negative omens for the DOJ into Judge Walkers request for clarification, thats just pure spin. Donald Barnes, an antitrust specialist at the Washington, D.C., firm Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP, thinks that Walkers just being diligent in his attempt to understand some technical terms that the parties have been usingor inventing, as the case may beduring the trial. "Its not surprising that in dealing in a highly technical area, the judge wants to be absolutely sure he fully understands the implications of the terms," Barnes told me. "It doesnt suggest to me that he hasnt been paying attention." Not paying attention? Perish the thought. I ask you, whose attention would wander when trying to ascertain the meaning of the word "function?" Or, for that matter, the rest of the terms, which include functionality, financial management software, human resources management software, legacy system and enterprise resource planning? I think all of this term definition is good. I think all of this making up of terms is even better. It makes me want to dissect the meanings of other baffling terms weve parlayed for some time, with an eye toward figuring out if theyre just figments of some descriptive imagination. And given the recent news, theres one term thats calling out for a discussion of its provenance and potential made-up-ness. To wit: Internet Explorer security. Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. eWEEK.com Associate Editor Lisa Vaas has written about enterprise applications since 1997. Check out eWEEK.coms Database Center at http://database.eweek.com for the latest database news, reviews and analysis.
Youd think that somebody like Hamerman would be putting his money on the DOJ to win, but even after doing a thorough evaluation of the software thats at the heart of this trial, and even after determining that theres a clear difference between "high-function" software and not-so-high-function software, hes not coming down on either side.