By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2004-07-01 Print this article Print

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.
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.
"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 using—or inventing, as the case may be—during 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 Associate Editor Lisa Vaas has written about enterprise applications since 1997. Check out eWEEK.coms Database Center at for the latest database news, reviews and analysis.

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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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