PeopleSoft Customers Wary of Oracle Takeover

If Oracle's Town Hall meeting on Thursday managed to lull the fears of any PeopleSoft customers, those customers kept mum about their newfound ease.

If Oracle Corp.s Town Hall meeting on Thursday managed to lull the fears of any PeopleSoft Inc. customers, those customers kept mum about their newfound ease.

The uncomforted, however, did not.

"[The merger] will cost us money, bottom line," said a Human Resources systems manager in San Jose, Calif., who requested anonymity.

Like other PeopleSoft customers, he said he just doesnt swallow Oracles promise that the Redwood Shores, Calif., database company would keep up development of PeopleSoft products following a successful takeover. "I dont believe it for a second," he said. "[Those promises] could mean anything. That could mean some little token development, just so [Oracle CEO Larry Ellisons] not lying. Theyre not going to put the development dollars into something thats just going to go away."

Bobby Ho, another Human Resources systems manager, from Ricoh Electronics Inc., in Tustin, Calif., echoed those concerns. "My biggest concern is—I wouldnt say integrity, but the issue around upgrades and supporting of PeopleSoft products," he said. "Initially Oracle said Hey, were not going to support [PeopleSoft products], were going to integrate PeopleSoft. Now theyre saying theyll support it up to 10 years. How will they support it? On this current technology, it will be obsolete."

The anonymous user concurred, saying that PeopleSoft products fate post-merger would be to wither on the vine. "What do you do with products you dont develop that have the same software in 10 years? Thats where I see Larry putting it. The shelf life on systems and applications is probably two to three years at best. To just support it for 10 years is probably the worst thing he could do. Im sure hed be delighted to see PeopleSoft die a slow death."

Indeed, Oracle Executive Vice President Chuck Phillips encountered the same concerns during the online Town Meeting, which was the first of a series the company plans to hold. His response was, in essence, that Oracle will develop PeopleSoft products to the extent needed to keep customers happy.