Speaking before an audience of mostly executive-level customers and prospects Tuesday, PeopleSoft Inc. CEO Craig Conway unloaded on SAP AG and its CEO, Henning Kagermann.
Conway accused Kagermann of lifting elements of a January speech Conway gave in Germany for Kagermanns own keynote at SAPs Sapphire user group conference in New Orleans last week.
"I spent 40 minutes [during the January speech] mostly talking about flexibility and adaptability, and what a surprise, Henning Kagermanns speech at Sapphire last week is about flexibility and adaptability," Conway said. "At least I know someone over there was listening," he joked.
"Henning Kagermann talking about flexibility and adaptability is like [former French president] Francois Mitterand talking about having a deep affection for American tourists. Its not true. Just because they say its true doesnt make it true."
When asked about his comments during a news conference after the keynote, Conway, who earlier in the speech described SAPs software as "poured in concrete," didnt back down.
"I didnt mean to take a cheap shot at SAP but its not a cheap shot when its true. PeopleSoft has always been known for having a more flexible, customizable architecture."
Elsewhere in his keynote, Conway recounted events of the past year, including the J.D. Edwards & Co. acquisition and Oracle Corp.s takeover attempt.
Conway also reviewed the evolution of the software industry and examined its current state. "In this third generation of software, applications have moved online and been connected together," he said, adding that companies have started thinking not in terms of individual applications but about entire business processes.
"Now, companies are putting business processes online in real time. Things keep getting better and better," Conway said. "Companies have an inexhaustible appetite to improve their business processes."
Conway cited five trends driving PeopleSofts immediate future: increased flexibility and adaptability; gaining more intelligence from business processes, particularly predictive intelligence; improving the ownership experience of software by reducing the costs of application management, maintenance and upgrades; discovering a new class of applications to improve productivity and efficiency; and reaching more companies, particularly in the midmarket.