The PeopleSoft Factor
While Oracle talks grid, customers remain worried about the ramifications of its continued effort to purchase PeopleSoft. Since its initial offer in June, Oracle has repeatedly extended its bid to buy PeopleSoft and is waiting for the end of an antitrust investigation from the U.S. Department of Justice, which Phillips expects to end in late November. "You hate to see a company doing that because it takes away from the emphasis on its core products," said Oracle user Howard Muffler, director of enterprise services at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, in Daytona Beach, Fla. "If theyre worried about integrating a new business division and supporting all these new people theyre taking on, then how much effort and emphasis will be focused on the core product and the core business?""It doesnt replace our strategy," he said. "It certainly can add (to it) if we buy the right company. And thats kind of one more thing in your bag in terms of generating growth and gaining market share." Despite worries over the PeopleSoft bid, customers such as Muffler say they are pleased with Oracles technology direction. Embry-Riddle, an aeronautical school, uses not only the Oracle 9i database and application server but is running Oracles e-business suite for its enterprise resource planning applications. Muffler, who admits knowing little about Oracles grid approach, said he has nonetheless embraced many of Oracles past efforts after initial doubts. The school has begun deploying some of its Oracle database instances on Linux and is considering moving to the Oracle Collaboration Suite, a move Muffler didnt expect when Oracle introduced the competitor to Microsoft Exchange little more than a year ago. "We have a lot of faith in Oracle," he said. With 10G, Oracle will be trying to capitalize on that customer faith for its new grid computing direction. The 10G releases mark only the beginning of the push, one that Shimp acknowledges will take several years for customers to embrace fully. "Oracle 10G is not the beginning and the end of grid computing but a weigh station along the road to grid computing," Shimp said. "Even more and better technology is coming down the road." Discuss this in the eWeek forum.
But Phillips said that the PeopleSoft bid is not a distraction for development teams and is consuming only the time of a few top executives. The takeover attempt may be the biggest news in Oracles applications business, but Phillips said Oracle is committed to growing its applications business whether or not the acquisition pans out.