After the buyout was announced on Monday, Siebel found itself the butt of competitor gibes and analysts predictions of doom based on the oft-repeated prediction that Oracle was mainly interested in Siebels customer base and had little interest providing long term support for its product line.
Detractors, led by key competitor Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff, predicted that Oracle Corp. would rapidly phase out Siebel CRM OnDemand after it closed its proposed $5.85 billion buyout of the company because the product was developed in a partnership with IBM to run on IBMs DB2 relational database, a direct competitor to the Oracle database.
However, there is nothing preventing Siebel from porting CRM OnDemand to other the Oracle database, said Bruce Cleveland, Siebels senior vice president, said Thursday.
The OnDemand package was developed on the Siebel 7.5.3 CRM suite, which "which can run on virtually any application server and any database," Cleveland said in an interview on Thursday.
As part of its partnership with IBM, Siebel agreed to run CRM OnDemand on DB2 and WebSphere. But there is no technical or legal reason why Siebel couldnt make the same arrangement with Oracle or other companies, Cleveland said.
Comments by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison during the acquisition announcement Monday indicate that the company has no intention of downplaying or phasing out any Siebel product, Cleveland noted.
The Siebel-OnDemand products "are improving at a very, very rapid rate, and we intend to invest in them heavily," Ellison said Monday. "We expect that all of the Siebel product features and functions that they have in the software products will migrate to the OnDemand products," Ellison said.
While Siebel has faced more competition from hosted CRM applications like Salesforce.com, Siebel is still far larger and has added far more new users for its CRM products, Cleveland said.
Siebel claims that it has added 500,000 new users for all of its CRM products in 2005 while Salesforce.com has added 100,000 to a total of 308,000 during the same period.