ANAHEIM, Calif.—PeopleSoft Inc. President and CEO Craig Conway took to the stage for his opening keynote address at PeopleSofts Connect conference here walking his black lab, Abbie, both of them wearing bulletproof vests.
The entrance was a joke in reference to a quote made by Oracle Corp. Chairman and CEO Larry Ellison in July that if he had one bullet, hed shoot Conway, not his dog, after Conway had compared Oracle buying PeopleSoft to buying a dog just to shoot it.
"Have you noticed how often Larry Ellison changes his mind?" Conway asked to uproarious laughter. "First he said he would discontinue our applications and lay off our employees, then he said he wouldnt. First he said hed shoot my dog, then he said hed shoot me. Abby and I arent taking any chances."
But by the end of his speech, all joking was set aside as Conway reserved his final praise and thanks to PeopleSoft customers who have continued buying PeopleSoft software despite the company being in limbo trying to stave off Oracles hostile takeover bid.
"Oracle failed not because of our management team or our attorneys or our board of directors, but because of you," Conway told attendees. Conway said the greatest danger to PeopleSoft while defending itself against Oracle was that customers wouldnt go through with their planned purchases of PeopleSoft software.
"Their tactic … could have worked, but it didnt," said Conway. "Were grateful to our customers, and we will never forget you," he said as was drowned out by applause. Last week at OracleWorld, Oracle Executive Vice President Chuck Phillips said his company remains undeterred in its effort to acquire PeopleSoft.