Microsoft Provides Sworn Statement to Justice Department

By Renee Boucher Ferguson  |  Posted 2004-03-08

Microsoft Corp. executives have provided a sworn statement to the U.S. Department of Justice that could be a boon to the Justices suit against Oracle Corp., according to the Reuters news service.

The Justice Department filed suit in a San Francisco court earlier this month to block Oracles $9.4 billion hostile takeover of PeopleSoft Inc. Key to the DOJs argument is that there are only three key business applications providers at the enterprise level—Oracle, PeopleSoft and German software developer SAP AG—and that a merger between two of the three would amount to bad business for customers.

Oracle has countered the Justices complaint, saying that the enterprise market is rife with competition, particularly from Microsoft, which is expected to beef up its applications offerings to compete in the upper echelon of deals.

Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., currently sells ERP (enterprise resource planning) software to small and mid-market companies, but not to enterprise customers.

Microsofts statement to the DOJ undermines Oracles stance. The companys statement said it has no plans to enter the enterprise market within the next two years, according to Reuters.

During its investigatory phase, the Justice Department concluded similarly—that Microsoft would not enter the market fast enough to be considered a competitor.

Officials from Microsoft and the Justice Department declined to comment.

On the flip side, officials from SAP said earlier today that they will support Oracles definition of the competitive landscape and that they plan to write a letter to that effect to the Justice Department.

Its unclear what impact SAPs input will have on the case, given the fact that the company, based in Walldorf, Germany, has already seen the upside of the uncertainty caused by Oracles takeover attempts. Some customers wavering between Oracle and PeopleSoft have opted for the "safer bet" in SAP, officials there said.

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