DOJ, Oracle Pitch Their Points in Final Briefs

Before closing arguments set for July 20, the Department of Justice and Oracle each submit their best reasoning in the government's lawsuit seeking to block Oracle's hostile buyout of PeopleSoft.

The U.S Department of Justice and Oracle released their "conclusions of law and fact" Friday, with each stating why it should prevail in the governments antitrust lawsuit seeking to block Oracles hostile buyout of PeopleSoft.

The briefs, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, will be the basis for closing arguments before U.S. Ninth District Judge Vaughn Walker scheduled for July 20. Walker will study the briefs as he considers whether the government has proved its case that the Oracle Corp.-PeopleSoft Inc. merger is anticompetitive.

Court observers have said it may take Walker one to two months to render a verdict in the case.

In its 15-page brief, the DOJ argued that the buyout would effectively give Oracle a 47.4 percent share of the U.S. market for "high-function" financial management software. It would have a 69.7 percent share of the U.S. market for human resources management software. These levels are "significantly above" the legal guidelines established in earlier antitrust cases, the DOJs brief said.

The DOJ defended its definition of the "high-function" enterprise application software market, stating that the court shouldnt include companies such as Microsoft Corp., Lawson Software Inc. and American Management Systems Inc., which it says sell products to SMBs (small and midsized businesses) rather than to the largest corporations.

Oracle "has not offered sufficient evidence that the entry or repositioning" by these companies "would be timely, likely and of sufficient magnitude to replace the competition lost" though Oracles buyout of PeopleSoft.

Any claims that the buyout would result in market efficiencies "will not overcome the anticompetitive effects" of the transaction, the DOJ held.

The government rejected Oracles argument that it needs the money and ongoing cash flow it would gain from the merger to fund future growth to stay competitive with IBM and Microsoft. Federal law requires that any efficiency gained must "reverse the anticompetitive effect, not that the transaction will provide some net social benefit," the DOJ argued.

The government also argued that the buyout would "substantially lessen" competition in the United States, which is the only appropriate market "in which to analyze the competitive effects" of the buyout.

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John Pallatto

John Pallatto

John Pallatto has been editor in chief of QuinStreet Inc.'s eWEEK.com since October 2012. He has more than 40 years of experience as a professional journalist working at a daily newspaper and...