Forget PeopleSofts Customers, Its All About the Money

By John Pallatto  |  Posted 2003-11-26 Print this article Print

In the end, it doesn't matter where an Oracle takeover will leave PeopleSoft customers: $7.3 billion can be very persuasive.

When a company is the target of a hostile corporate takeover, what its customers, employees or even management think doesnt matter much. Money talks. Right now there is $7.3 billion on the table saying very loudly that it wants to give Oracle the right to dismantle and absorb not one, but two companies, PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards.
While the financial transactions are complete, PeopleSoft is still in the throes of integrating J.D. Edwards technology and culture into a single organization selling a coherent line of enterprise resource management software. Turning two companies into one is never easy. A lot of good luck and inspired management might actually produce a stronger single company that is able to provide quality service to customers while gaining improved prospects for survival in a competitive market.
Then along comes Oracle, which is determined to buy out the combined companies whether or not PeopleSofts senior management and board of directors like the idea. Oracle in fact is so determined to take over PeopleSoft that it is willing to wage a proxy fight in hopes of convincing a majority of shareholders to throw out the current board and elect new directors friendly to the buyout proposal. And it continues to chase after PeopleSoft even though business regulators on two continents are reviewing whether the takeover would be anti-competitive, although Oracle says it can satisfy regulators that it wont violate antitrust laws. Click here for some diametrically opposed thoughts on the Oracle-PeopleSoft saga. So far there has been no detailed public discussion of how this takeover will impact current or future users of PeopleSoft ERP software. Thats because the customers simply dont fit into the equation. Its all a matter of whether shareholders like Oracles offer well enough to kiss PeopleSoft goodbye as an independent company. Customers can only hope that they will still be able to use PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards software profitably regardless of whose logo is printed on the service agreements. Next page: Buying fear, uncertainty and doubt.

John Pallatto John Pallatto is's Managing Editor News/West Coast. He directs eWEEK's news coverage in Silicon Valley and throughout the West Coast region. He has more than 35 years of experience as a professional journalist, which began as a report with the Hartford Courant daily newspaper in Connecticut. He was also a member of the founding staff of PC Week in March 1984. Pallatto was PC Week's West Coast bureau chief, a senior editor at Ziff Davis' Internet Computing magazine and the West Coast bureau chief at Internet World magazine.

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