PeopleSoft Customers Voice Relief at End of Buyout Battle

Customers say they're happy that Oracle has finally hammered out a deal with PeopleSoft. But they say Oracle will have to do a lot more to win their confidence.

Customers on Monday expressed relief more than dismay that Oracle Corp. had finally reached a definitive buyout agreement with PeopleSoft Inc., giving them hope that they will get reliable information about future product support.

PeopleSofts fate was of particular concern to users of ERP (enterprise resource planning) software from J.D. Edwards & Co., which PeopleSoft acquired in June 2003 just before Oracle launched its offer to buy out PeopleSoft.

"All in all, I am happy the battle is over, and now I would like to know definitively what we are looking at long term from a product perspective," said Brighton, Colo.-based Alan VanNice, application manager for Adams County, Colo., which still runs J.D. Edwards ERP applications.

He noted that Oracles story on PeopleSoft product support has changed dramatically since the company first announced that it wanted to buy PeopleSoft at an initial price of $16 per share at a total cost of $5 billion.

Oracle had to repeatedly raise the price before it could announce Monday that the two companies had reached agreement on a buyout for $26.50 per share, at a total cost of $10.3 billion.

Oracle executives initially said current versions of PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards ERP software would be supported for as many as 10 years but not enhanced. VanNice recalled attending a customer briefing in which an Oracle executive said the company would set up a conversion center in Austin, Texas, to help customers migrate to Oracle applications.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read about why Wall Street is giving a thumbs-up to the Oracle-PeopleSoft deal.

VanNice on Monday cited news reports indicating that Oracle would release PeopleSoft 9 and J.D. Edwards upgrades over the next two years before it starts to work on a converged Oracle and PeopleSoft product that Oracle CEO Larry Ellison called "PeopleSoft 10."

VanNice said he still has a lot of questions about what the ultimate fate will be for J.D. Edwards and PeopleSoft applications. "Will we all migrate to Oracle applications one day?"

He also asked whether Oracle understands the "poor perception" that PeopleSoft customers have about the Oracle applications.

"In my opinion, Oracle has an uphill battle to turn happy PeopleSoft customers into happy Oracle customers," VanNice said. But he said he is prepared to keep an open mind. "I am ready to learn more. I hope they dont drag their feet anymore."

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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...